More than 400 people took on an icy New Year's Day challenge for charity.

Ranging from just five years of age to 66, the crowd of fancily-dressed volunteers braved the 6C water at the Sub Aqua Club on Cottonmill Lane to take part in the fourth annual Polar Bear Plunge.

An additional 220 watched as the event, hosted by Clare Suttie, raised money for the OLLIE foundation, the Counselling Foundation and EarthWorks St Albans.

Ms Suttie said: “It started as a one off event which was only to raise money for the charities my husband, who was travelling to the North Pole, was supporting.

“However, it was very popular in the community, and people were asking me if it would be repeated.”

She said the idea started off as a novelty one, and it ‘snowballed’ from there.

While the inaugural 2016 event saw 120 people raise more than £5,000, this year’s event has seen this amount double - and Ms Suttie admitted to being taken aback by its success.

“It’s a tricky one to sell,” she said. “It is different to racing and running, and for most people this is a one off event.”

“But half the people who took part had done it before, and the event has built up a following.”

December saw the organisers ‘yarn bomb’ 23 post boxes round St Albans to advertise the event, which Suttie says was an integral reason for the increased attendance.

Doubts have cropped up over a potential 2020 event, as Ms Suttie will be moving out of the area.

However, she is confident that individuals and organisations in the city will take up the reins, saying: “I am confident it will continue - St Albans is behind it.”

The event has raised £9,880 at the time of writing - to push the amount over the £10,000 mark, donate at