Hundreds join the fun at Mersea Island’s popular annual Boxing Day dip
Hundreds braved the biting cold winds for ‘a dose of invigorating madness’ at the 12th annual Mersea Island Boxing Day dip.
A record breaking total of 238 dippers turned up for the event, gathering in swimming kit and fancy dress before plunging into the chilly North Sea.
The popular event has raised more than £33,000 for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) over the years it has been running.
As well as the scores of dippers braving the challenge, hundreds more wellwishers and supporters cheered them on from the beach - most of them with a mug of tea in hand.
The event’s fancy dress competition was judged by the RNLI’s mascot Stormy Stan who arrived in the charity’s lifeboat Just George.
Among the medley of outrageous costumes - which included a few Santas, a bumblebee, a bananaman and the odd minion - three winners were picked.
The best dressed man went to Gary Petley for his cheerleader outfit, the best dressed woman was Ceri Daniels for her Sammy the Seal outfit.
Jesse Elson won the children’s fancy dress with his Father Christmas getup.
A spokesman for the RNLI said the beach was a ‘sight to behold’ as the swimmers gathered at the water’s edge.
He thanked the support of the local community and businesses for helping to make the event a huge success.
He said: “Thank you to The Victory Hotel for providing mulled wine and black currant juice to fortify the dippers, to Tesco for donating mince pies and to marvellous Lynn and Heather from the Poop deck for sponsoring the tea tent - providing hot refreshments to sustain us all.
“Two Atlantic 85 lifeboats were in attendance: our own Just George from West Mersea and our flank station’s boat, David Porter MPS from, Clacton.
“Stormy Stan entertained the crowds, along with lifeboat helmsmen Jason Dale with his cracking commentary.
“Monkey Beach on Boxing Day was a sight to behold.
“Thank you, from all of us at the lifeboat station, for joining us for this very British dose of invigorating madness for a worthy cause.”
For more on the RNLI and next year’s dip visitwww.westmersealifeboat.org