Boxing Day Dip’s future under threat

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SUNDERLAND’S world-famous Boxing Day Dip could be at risk if more volunteers do not come forward.

Sunderland Lions Club has organised the massive fund-raising event for almost 40 years but with the majority of members over 70, that cannot go on much longer.

Now the club is launching a drive to recruit new members, amid fears its days could be numbered.

Spokesman Peter Fielding said the fear was the club could go the way of others that had not acted in time to tackle an ageing membership.

Peter and wife Anne are in their late 60s – but are far from the club’s oldest volunteers.

“We have 19 members,” said Peter. “The youngest is in his 30s, we have one in his 40s, there’s us and then the others are in their 70s and 80s,” he added. “People are not getting any younger.”

As well as organising the dip, the Lions fund-raise and donate thousands of pounds to a wide range of causes.

“The dip is not under any imminent threat, but we do need more members,” said Peter.

“We appreciate that most organisations are suffering, but if the good work is to continue, we need more people.

“We have seen clubs close down before.

“Newcastle closed because they did not bother to encourage new members.

“We need to encourage younger people to join.”

He said the organisation has a saying that one new members means two new hands to help the community.

“We do need new members, not just for the dip, but for all sorts of things,” said Peter.

“It is fun and it feels good to help others – why not give it a try?”

Anyone who would like to find out more about the work of Sunderland Lions can contact Anne and Peter Fielding on 522 5305.

Alternatively, e-mail fieldingpanda@virginmedia.com.