Gallery: Hundreds take part in annual Felixstowe Christmas Day Dip
The North Sea was filled with festive fundraisers as hundreds of people in one Suffolk town started their Christmas Day with a splash.
Despite the unseasonably warm weather this month, around 400 people felt a short-lived Christmas chill as they took part in the Felixstowe Christmas Day Dip, raising thousands of pounds for St Elizabeth Hospice in the process.
Many of those taking part did so in memory of a loved-one, or to give something back to the Hospice where a friend or a relative was cared for.
Others took part with friends and family as an exhilarating way to begin the festivities on Christmas morning.
Many were in fancy dress as Father Christmas and his elves took the plunge, along with other characters including Spiderman.
There was a slight hiccup as revellers went in the sea five minutes early – but not that it mattered to anyone.
The Christmas Day Dip first took place 12 years ago in supporter Peter Burt’s back garden, with just seven people taking part.
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St Elizabeth Hospice’s events and challenges fundraiser, Catherine Sheppard said the event marked the end of months of organising.
She added: “Thanks to all the volunteers and staff helping, along with the coastguard – they’ve all been fantastic.
“The rain held off and the weather has been good – we’ve been really lucky with the weather.
“I’d like to say a big thank-you for all of those who have raised funds for the hospice, in memory of those in care and those who can’t be with us today – and well done to all.”
Judith Hammond, whose ex-husband was cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “This is about the sixth year I’ve done the dip and I love it.
“The hospice is a wonderful place where you can leave your worries at the door, and I know that by doing the Christmas Day Dip, it will benefit others.
“For me the dip starts Christmas – everyone is freezing and dressed in weird and wonderful clothing and it’s just a great atmosphere!”
The mayor of Felixstowe, Doreen Savage, was present on the seafront watching those get involved in the dip.
She said: “It’s lovely – this is the way to start Christmas.
“One thing about this event is that the sun always manages to come out, and it was shining today.
“They are all very brave – I admire them enormously. I hope they’ve raised a lot of money.”