HARDY souls are bracing themselves for an annual festive tradition.
Boxing Day dippers in Sunderland and East Durham will race into the chilly North Sea on Friday to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities.
Sunderland Lions Club, which organises the Seaburn event, has double cause for celebration this year.
Not only is 2014 the club’s 50th anniversary, but this year will also mark the 40th dip and the Lions are hoping for the best event ever.
Spokeswoman Anne Fielding said: “In 2013 we had 935 dippers who nominated 81 organisations to receive money.
“The amount of cash raised was £66,680, which was truly amazing. Can we make it even more in 2014? How wonderful if we could.”
The club keeps a percentage of money from the dip for its own charities, and this year has donated more than £12,000 to local and national charitable organisations and international disaster funds.
Registration will be between 9.15am and 10.15am, with the fancy dress judging between 10.30am and 11am, followed by the parade and procession to the sea. In Seaham, East Durham Round Table have organised the event which sees fund-raisers run into the icy water from the slope beach within the town’s North Dock marina.
The dip usually attracts crowds of hundreds as families watch on from the shore.
Paul Hepple, who is organising the event, said: “Each year our dippy dippers run into the North Sea to raise money for a charity close to their hearts.
“It’s a fantastic thing to take part in.”
Cash raised by the Round Table will be distributed to good causes across the district.
Registration for the dip is between 10.30am and 11am, with a £5 entry fee.