HARDY souls who plunged into the sea for charity have had their record-breaking feat celebrated.
A massive 942 people – the most ever – braved the North Sea to take part in the Boxing Day Dip, raising a staggering £59,000 for good causes.
The Chesters Pub in Sunderland was the venue for the dip’s awards evening, where trophies were presented to worthy winners both for the amount of money raised and the effort put into fancy dress costumes.
Anne Fielding, President of the Lions Club of Sunderland, which organises the festive dip, said: “The amount of people taking part just keeps going up, they are all amazing.
“We have a number of regulars who do it every year, but we are getting lots of new people joining as well.
“They are raising money for lots of local charities, which proves there is a real need.”
Anne said the variety of costumes people come up with for the Boxing Day event is amazing.
She said: “It is absolutely brilliant how people just keep coming up with new and different ideas.”
This year the Echo Cup, for the Best Team Fancy Dress, went to Team Benfield, which was made up of nine people dressed as Minions from the hit film Despicable Me.
Barry Jacques, 31, from Silksworth, who came up with the theme, was presented with the award.
He said: “We bought dungarees and I made the eyes out of welding goggles and we painted ourselves yellow, it seemed to work quite well.”
Last year Barry’s team also won an award for being dressed as dominoes, so he said the challenge is now on to come up with something unique and award-winning for this year’s dip.
There were a total of 11 cups and trophies presented at the awards night and other winners included Jill’s Girls, who won the Seaburn Centre WOW Award for their post box costumes.
Anne, said this year’s dip will mark the 50th anniversary of the Lions Club of Sunderland and 40 years of the Boxing Day Dip, so they are aiming for it to be the best ever.
Mayor of Sunderland, coun Bob Heron, who presented some of the awards, said: “I would like to thank every one of the people who went into the sea, it was not very warm that day, it was freezing.
“I would also like to thank the Lions Club for all the hard work they do throughout the year. The Boxing Day Dip is just one of the many ways they raise money for our community.”