MORE than 100 people have already signed up to the Irvine Beach Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day - including Irvine's MSP and the Provost.

Coastwatch, who have organised the inaugural event, say they have 104 volunteers willing to brave the icy waters of Irvine Beach in order to raise money for charity - including MSP Ruth Maguire and North Ayrshire Provost Ian Clarkson.

They will join other dippers invited down to Irvine Beach in fancy dress at 11am where they will run in to the freezing cold sea to raise money for charity. Organisers will be on hand to provide hot drinks and hot soup for people coming out of the water.

Coastwatch’s Billy Lamb says dippers are welcome to raise money for any charity of their choice but organisers are also hoping if they don’t have an obvious charity in mind, that they would consider raising much-needed funds for Coastwatch.

The funds will go towards the refurbishment of the Pilot House, which is expected to cost around £300,000.

Billy said: “There have been all kids of charities mentioned from the people taking part, but if anyone is struggling to find a cause close to their hearts, then they should feel free to raise money for Coastwatch.We already have a couple of people who have chosen us as their nominated charity and a few more have decided to split their proceeds between us and another charity, which is very generous. We are just grateful for anything we can get.

“The Pilot House project is going to cost around £300,000. The observation deck we are hoping to incorporate alone costs £70,000.

“Whilst we will be applying to grant giving trusts, we really do need to make a chunk of that money ourselves. If we are able to do that, it will also go in our favour when we eventually do apply for grants.

“The Pilot House is something, when it is completed, which the people of Irvine will benefit from for years so it would be great for them to be part of the fund raising and refurbishment process too and the Polar Plunge is a good, fun way to do that.”

The iconic Pilot House originally opened in 1906 and was formally known as Boyd’s Automatic Tide Signalling Apparatus - and was one of only two in the world. It was used to signal the depth of the water at the harbour with a series of light signals at night, and the raising or lowering of round, black disks on a pulley system.

MSP Ruth will be donating any funds she raises to Coastwatch.

She said: “I am delighted to be taking part in the first ever Polar Plunge to take place in Irvine. I hope that I can raise lots of money for such a great local charity, Irvine Coastwatch. As well as supporting their important day to day work watching out for people’s safety at sea and on the coast, the money raised will also support their exciting project to restore and renovate Irvine’s iconic Pilot House.

“I’ve not yet decided on my costume, but I think it will be some sort of animal….people will have to come down on the day and find out.”

Provost Ian Clarkson will be raising money for Cash for Kids.

He said: “I recently received a cheque for over £54,646 from Cash for Kids organiser, Lynne Bennet. This money will be given to many Kids’ projects in North Ayrshire, including Breakfast Clubs.

"It is an opportunity for me to get involved and raising the awareness for Cash for Kids, with the money going to Cash for Kids.”

“Billy Lamb from Coastwatch says the water will be warmer on the 1st January. I have my doubts. But the Children will get the benefits.”

People can donate money at the fundraising page Ruth has set up for the event at: https:// ruthmaguire1

If you would like to take part in the Irvine Beach Polar Plunge contact Coastwatch on 01294 271855 or email

Alternatively you can visit Coastwatch’s Crowdfunding page and donate. Just visit http://www.crowdfunder.