Sunderland’s famous Boxing Day Dip has a new home.
The beloved event’s future had been in doubt after the announcement that the Seaburn Centre was to close as part of the seafront redevelopment. Organisers Sunderland Lions Club were inundated with suggestions from Dippers desperate to see the tradition continue.
“After much discussion and reorganisation, the Lions Club of Sunderland are pleased to announce that the Boxing Day Dip will continue,” said spokeswoman Anne Fielding.
“With the closure of the Seaburn Centre we were faced with having to find a new venue. It had to be within easy reach of the sea, close to suitable parking areas and the need for a minimum amount of road closure.
“Our regular dippers, keen to see the Dip continue, came up with numerous suggestions. Our Dip team met to discuss their ideas and to put a plan forward that was acceptable to Sunderland City Council.
“With the help of Victoria French, Head of Events for the Council, and an excellent offer from the Marriott Hotel we agreed that the venue for the Dip would be the Seaburn Marriott on Queen’s Parade.”
Planning for the Dip is now advanced, but major changes in the organisation have had to be made.Anne Fielding
The change of venue does, however, mean this year’s event will be smaller than previously and there will have to be changes to the way it is organised.
“Planning for the Dip is now advanced, but major changes in the organisation have had to be made,” said Anne.
“Nowhere on the seafront has the capacity like the Seaburn Centre had. Therefore, the number of dippers able to take part in the event has had to be reduced to 400.
“An event of this size has a cost: the Marriott Hotel, road closures, publicity, postage and donations to the emergency services all have to be paid for.
“Having worked out our costs we have decided to make a major change in how we and our dippers collect sponsor monies.
“In the past the Lions Club has requested 20% of the Dippers’ sponsor money. This will no longer be the case.
“Instead, and after consultation with some of our Dippers, we have decided to charge a fee of £25 as a single registration fee. This means that all the sponsor money raised by the Dippers will be given by them to their chosen charity/organisation.
“The registration fee of £25 per dipper will be used by the Lions Club of Sunderland to pay all dip expenses with the remainder placed in our Charity Account to be used for humanitarian purposes as the need arises.”
The Lions support a number of good causes across Sunderland throughout the year, and the Dip is their major source of funding.
Members recently visited the Marine Activities Centre at Roker for the unveiling of a new minibus bought with a £3,000 donation from the club.
Registration for this year’s Dip will begin around the end of September and up-to-date to date information will be posted on the club’s Facebook page and website www.sunderlandlionsuk.org