Hundreds brave the cold for Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip

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Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip got off to a flying start in its new home.

Doctors, surfers, jellyfish and Roman Centurions were among the costumes on show.

Crowds throng the promenade

Crowds throng the promenade

Organisers Sunderland Lions Club had feared the event’s days might be numbered after the decision to close its former home at the Seaburn Centre.

But bosses at the Marriott Hotel stepped in to provide a new base and this year’s dip went ahead as usual.

The promenade and beach at Seaburn were packed with spectators and well-wishers as 200-plus dippers took the plunge.

Lions’ spokeswoman Anne Fielding was delighted with the turn-out both in the water and on land.

The atmosphere has been great and there was a really good crowd.

Anne Fielding

“The atmosphere has been great and there was a really good crowd,” she said.

“It is lovely to see so many people come down to support the event.”

Among this taking the plunge was 38-year-old Rob Dean, who had turned up and paid his £25 entry fee on the day.

Originally from West Rainton, he emigrated to Australia eight years ago and is home to visit the family.

Lauren 'Poison Ivy' Flaxen and Nesika 'Wonder Women' Stirling lead the parade

Lauren 'Poison Ivy' Flaxen and Nesika 'Wonder Women' Stirling lead the parade

Watch our slideshow of Sunderland Boxing Day Dip pictures

“My dad said ‘Do you want to go and watch the Dip?’ and I said ‘Can you join in?’

“The Lions Club is a good cause, so I was happy to chip in.”

Taking part in her 13th Dip was Julie Reay, who has raised thousands of pounds for charity since the death of her son Peter, 13, in a tragic rope swing accident in 2002,

Julie Reay's Peter David Lane Trust Fund team

Julie Reay's Peter David Lane Trust Fund team

“The Dip is always our biggest fund-raising event of the year,” she said.

“We just love taking part.”

This year’s funds will be going to the 4Louis charity, which helps parents of stillborn babies.

Also raising funds was a team from animal welfare charity Paws for Thought.

“We love taking part in the Dip - you see the same people every year,” she said.

“This is my 18th Dip, so I’m used to the cold now.”

The jellyfish were raising funds for Epilepsy Research

The jellyfish were raising funds for Epilepsy Research

Read more: Check out these reader pictures from the Boxing Day dip in Sunderland

Even superheroes take the plunge

Even superheroes take the plunge

Feeling the chill

Feeling the chill