Tommy Burns braved the bitterly cold weather to dive from Runcorn Bridge on Saturday 26th October 1889. The Liverpool Echo described how he arrived at 12.55 and:
… mounted the rails of the footwalk, and after a momentary hesitation dived into the river, amidst tremendous cheers from the thousands of spectators who lined both sides of the river.
An Echo correspondent provided another version of the event:
At five minutes to one o’clock Burns, accompanied by several friends, left the Mersey Hotel for the bridge, dressed in a brown, plaid suit, under which were skin tights.
On arriving at the centre of the bridge he climbed the rails of the footwalk, and after one look down, dived into the water amidst tremendous cheering.
After swimming about the bridge for some time, during which he divested himself of his ordinary suit, Burns was pulled into one of the gigs [rowing boats] which were attending him, amidst a fresh outburst of enthusiasm.