Gallery/video: Fundraising crowds hit Felixstowe beach for Christmas Day dip

Hundreds brave the cold to take the plunge into the North Sea at Felixstowe for the annual St Elizab

Hundreds brave the cold to take the plunge into the North Sea at Felixstowe for the annual St Elizabeth Christmas Day Swim. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Hundreds of bold bathers took a chilly Christmas Day dip in the North Sea to raise funds for charity.

Crowds rushed to the shoreline at Felixstowe to dive in and make a splash for the St Elizabeth Hospice.

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the increasingly popular Christmas Day Dip, with at least 450 people taking part.

Fundraisers waited for the horn to sound before sprinting into the nippy water opposite Manning’s Amusements on Sea Road, Felixstowe.

Among the number was hospice chief executive Jane Petit, who said: “There’s always an amazing atmosphere. People are here to raise money for a good cause and just go for it!

“It’s a big fundraising event for us and has become quite iconic over the years. It’s an amazing way to start Christmas Day.”

The first Christmas Day Dip took place in 2003, with just seven people, in hospice supporter Peter Burt’s swimming pool.

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It currently costs £9.1million a year to run the hospice, which relies heavily on the support of fundraisers in the region.

Commencing the event, town mayor Jan Garfield said: “It costs an awful lot to run the hospice. They do such a lot of good. I’m sure the money raised will be put to good use.”

Fellow town councillor and former mayor, Doreen Savage is a regular spectator at the event. She said: “What I like is that it gets everyone out and sharing on Christmas morning. I like to come down and give some moral support.”

One of the many Christmas Day Dippers, Peter Mulvey was sponsored almost £800 by colleagues, family and friends to dress as a turkey for the event. It was the second time Mr Mulvey had taken part after his father was looked after at the hospice in 2001.