Hundreds take part in Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip 2016

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Hundreds of people braved the icy waters of the North Sea for the 2016 Boxing Day Dip.

And thousands more defied the biting winds to line the seafront and beach at Seaburn to cheer them on.

It'll take more than a onesie to keep you warm...

It'll take more than a onesie to keep you warm...

The event is organised by Sunderland Lions Club and spokeswoman Anne Fielding was delighted with both the turn-out and the day.

The Lions retain a percentage of all money raised for their own charities, with dippers free to donate the rest to their chosen cause.

“We have had 863 dippers and raised £47,483,” said Anne. “That is a long way up on last year.

“Seeing so many people both in the water and coming out to show support is just fantastic.

Karen Ebdy and Rob Johnstone, from Cairns, Australia.

Karen Ebdy and Rob Johnstone, from Cairns, Australia.

“The atmosphere was amazing.”

Among those taking the plunge were Rob Johnstone and Karen Ebdy, from Cairns in Australia.

Karen is from Durham and the couple are spending Christmas with her family, but it is 40-year-old Rob’s first time outside Oz.

“Karen told me all about the Dip and said she had never done it, so I talked her into it,” he said.

Lucy Gash and the Marfan Trust team

Lucy Gash and the Marfan Trust team

Lucy Gash was raising money in memory of brother Liam.

The 22-year-old died of Marfan Syndrome, a condition which affects the circularity system.

Lucy and her team have been raising money for the Marfan Trust all year.

“We set out to do ten challenges, though it’s actually been more like 13 or 14.

Crowds line the beach

Crowds line the beach

“We’ve raised about £5,000 this year,” she said.

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com and search 10for10challenge.

The must successful fund-raiser for the last ten years has been Julie Reay, who raises money in memory of her son Peter Lane, who died in 2002, aged just 13.

“The Dip is always our biggest fund-raiser and we are hoping to reach £5,000 this year,” said Julie.

“I’m so grateful to my dippers.”

Girlpower was present in the form of a team of Durham teaching assistants, dressed as Rosie the Riveter.

The ladies have been locked in a dispute with Durham County Council over changes to their contracts.

“We wanted to raise money for Macmillan and keep the campaign in the public eye,” said organiser Megan Charlton.