Nice day for a dip

Sunderland Boxing Day Dip 2011 at Seaburn. Clowns supporting Macmillan Cancer Nurses
Sunderland Boxing Day Dip 2011 at Seaburn. Clowns supporting Macmillan Cancer Nurses
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BIG-HEARTED fund-raisers braved the chilly North Sea to take part in the biggest Boxing Day Dip so far.

More than 1,200 hardy souls dipped in the 37th annual event to raise cash for good causes.

Sunderland Boxing Day Dip 2011 at Seaburn. Murton & east Durham Musical Theatre Group

Sunderland Boxing Day Dip 2011 at Seaburn. Murton & east Durham Musical Theatre Group

Thousands more flocked to the seafront to see the fancy dress fund-raisers which included smurfs, clowns, Strictly Come Dancing contestants, angels and oompa loompas.

Olympian Tony Jeffries and his pals certainly caught the eyes of the ladies in their knockout boxers’ outfits

The 26-year-old, of Moorside, who was fund-raising for Sunderland Lions Club and Help for Heroes, said: “There was five of us doing it. We were having a chat about it and thought it would be funny to do it as boxers.

“There’s so many people here. It just shows how mad and kind the people of Sunderland are.”

Super fund-raiser Julie Reay, of Barnes, led a team of 31 for the Peter Lane Trust Fund, which she set up in memory of her late son.

They managed to raise £5,460.

“It’s an absolutely fantastic amount to raise. It blows me away how generous people are.”

Dipping as sailors were the Murton and East Durham Musical Theatre Group.

Mum-of-two Rachael Oakes, 26, from Havelock Park, Pennywell, was among them.

She said: “This is our third year doing it as a group and every year we have new people joining us so it’s always exciting.

“It costs us £10,000 a year to stage our shows so money raised goes towards that.”

Pam Oliver, president of the Sunderland Lions Club, which organises the dip, said: “It’s fabulous this year.

“We have a record number taking part.

“I’ve also never seen so many supporters, people have been here since 9.30am.

“I think a lot of it is to do with the weather, and because they are keen to see what effort people have gone to for their costumes.”

Twitter:@Sunechokaty