Sunderland’s top Boxing Day dippers honoured

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BRAVE Boxing Day dippers have been rewarded for raising thousands of pounds.

Trophies were handed out to those who braved the icy waters off Seaburn at the Lions’ Club annual prize-giving, in the Chesters pub.

The Editor of the Sunderland Echo John Szymanski (5th left) presents the Sunderland Echo Cup for the Best Team Fancy Dress in the 2012 Boxing Day Dip to Janet Marley (6th left) of The Lambton Worms team at the Lions Club Boxing Day Dip presentation at The Chesters, Chester Road, Sunderland, last night. Also pictured are team members, Lions President Pam Oliver (left) and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun Robert Heron and Juliana Heron

The Editor of the Sunderland Echo John Szymanski (5th left) presents the Sunderland Echo Cup for the Best Team Fancy Dress in the 2012 Boxing Day Dip to Janet Marley (6th left) of The Lambton Worms team at the Lions Club Boxing Day Dip presentation at The Chesters, Chester Road, Sunderland, last night. Also pictured are team members, Lions President Pam Oliver (left) and the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun Robert Heron and Juliana Heron

Fund-raisers are expected to bring in more than £53,000, and £33,000 has already been gifted to 60 charities.

Lions’ Club member Anne Fielding thanked those who took part and encouraged everyone to hand in their cash.

“The dippers are the most important people and we are always very grateful to them. We think they are absolutely marvellous,” she said.

Scooping The Sunderland Echo Cup for Best Team Fancy Dress were The Lambton Worms, who raised £1,000 for Lambton Youth Project.

Janet Marley, 49, from South Bents, collected the award from Sunderland Echo editor John Szymanski. Her 16-year-old daughter Danielle is a member of the project for disabled kids.

Janet said: “I’m over the money and really surprised we won. We’re going to do it again this year, but we haven’t decided what we’re dressing up as.”

Mr Szymanski added: “Well done to everyone who took part in the dip.

“It takes a lot of spirit and determination to turn out on a very cold day just after Christmas and do what they do.

“I salute each and every one of them for their amazing efforts.”

Cheques were also handed out to a number of good causes. Youth group Autism4Heroes received £344 to help fund its work with young autistic people who are raising money for wounded soldiers. Student James Dawson, 20, from South Hylton, collected the cheque with college co-ordinator Jak Dixon, while mum Denise, 59, picked up the Sarah Cheverton Trophy for best fancy dress.

A total of 10 trophies were handed out by the Lions, who take a cut of money raised in return for organising the dip, which is the biggest in the UK.

St Aidan’s pupil Daniel Forrest was presented with the Sun FM Cup after bringing in the largest individual amount of sponsorship.

The 16-year-old, from Tunstall, raised £480, some of which will go towards buying kit for an expedition with his school to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Deputy Mayor Coun Robert Heron saw a familiar face as he handed the Mayor’s Trophy to fellow councillor Mel Spedding for the team which brought in the most sponsorship – £1,800 for the Mayor’s Charity.

l More winners’ pictures in the Echo tomorrow.