Healthy turnout for festive dip

MORE than 100 people took advantage of the mild weather to help make the Clacton Christmas Swim one of the biggest ever.The tradition, which has been maintained for more than 50 years, involves a sprint into the sea and a brief flurry of festive strokes before bolting back onto land again.

MORE than 100 people took advantage of the mild weather to help make the Clacton Christmas Swim one of the biggest ever.

The tradition, which has been maintained for more than 50 years, involves a sprint into the sea and a brief flurry of festive strokes before bolting back onto land again.

This year Ray Pemberton, a 36-year old former holiday camp blue coat, better known locally as Crazy Ray, said the adrenaline rush on running into the water was "amazing."

"I've been doing it for five years. The buzz is like performing in front of a million people," he said.

"I can't wait to do it again next year. There were around 150 people who took part and there were hundreds of spectators – it's the biggest crowd I've ever seen.

"It is a tradition which has been handed down through the generations," he explained, adding that he had taken about ten strokes once in the water.

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"It's exactly what you need to wake you up on Christmas morning," he said.