‘First come, first served’ warning as entries open for Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea during last year's Dip
Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea during last year's Dip

It will be a case of ‘first come, first served,’ for this year’s Boxing Day Dip.

The Echo revealed in July that the event was to move to a new home at the Seaburn Marriott Hotel after the demolition of its previous base in the Seaburn Centre as part of the seafront redevelopment.

Dippers on the beach last year

Dippers on the beach last year

Organisers Sunderland Lions Club were inundated with suggestions from Dippers desperate to see the tradition continue and accepted an offer from the Marriott.

The change of venue does, however, mean this year’s event will be smaller than previously and there will have to be changes to the way it is organised.

“This year the Boxing Day Dip has a completely new look,” said Lions spokeswoman Anne Fielding.

“With the closure of the Seaburn Centre, a new venue has had to be found. The Dip will take place from the Seaburn Marriott Hotel at the usual time of 11am but, obviously, dippers will enter the sea further along the beach.

The maximum number of dippers the Hotel can accommodate is 400, so first come, first served.

Anne Fielding

“The maximum number of dippers the Hotel can accommodate is 400, so first come, first served.”

Previously, the Lions took a share of all money raised, but the system has now been changed.

“Dippers are asked to pay £25 to participate and they will keep all their sponsor money,” said Anne.

“The money from Dippers will help the Lions Club pay for the expenses incurred in putting the Dip on and the rest of the money will go into the Lions Club charity account to be distributed throughout the year to needy causes both at home and abroad.

Crowds throng the promeance to watch last year's Boxing Day Dip

Crowds throng the promeance to watch last year's Boxing Day Dip

“There is a new entry form which can be obtained by e-mail from Lion Jim Nicol at sunderland.lions@virginmedia.com or telephone 0191 565 4207. Please note the old style entry form will no longer be accepted.

“When Dippers register they will be sent the Dip booklet and a wrist band which will give them entry into the Marriott. Please note only Dippers will be allowed into the Marriott Hotel.”

The Lions’ Christmas Wish campaign is one of the causes funded from money raised by the Boxing Day Dip - and is now open.

Sunderland Lions Club wants to make Christmas happy for schools, old people’s homes and community organisations across the city.

“The club is again offering up to £100 towards the cost of Christmas celebrations,” said Anne.

“This could be a party, outing, or a visit to the panto - but we don’t intend for the money just to be put into the bank and forgotten.”

Anyone wishing to apply either should write with details of how the money will be used to Lion Mike Evans, 33, Shearwater, Whitburn SR6 7SF or e-mail kathandmikeevans@gmail.com

Applications should be submitted by the end of November and each application will be considered by the Lions Club Service Committee.