Making a splash at Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip

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HOGWARTS pupils, video games characters, superheroes and penguins were among the sights as hundreds of brave fund-raisers took the plunge for Sunderland’s famous Boxing Day Dip.

The bitterly cold weather could not deter the best part of 1,000 hardy souls from braving the icy waters off Seaburn for this year’s event.

Hundreds more turned out to support those taking part.

Sunderland Lions Club organises the annual event and president Anne Fielding said there had been 942 people in the water yesterday.

Anne said: “We would like to acknowledge the help given by Sunderland Live, Seaburn Leisureworld, who provided the magnificent banner, and the Seaburn Marriott for the new trophy.”

The dip generates a huge amount for charity each year and by the time all the money pledged has been collected, this year’s event will have raised an estimated £73,111 for a huge range of charities, with the Lions taking a small share to fund their own good causes.

The promenade and beach at Seaburn were packed with well-wishers as the dippers promenaded along the seafront from the Seaburn Centre before dashing into the sea.

Among those taking part were friends Michael Howe and Dave Brettle, from Washington.

Michael, 42, and Dave, 47, were dressed as Baywatch lifeguards – complete with home-made surgical ‘enhancements’.

It was a first Dip for both, and they were doing it just for fun.

“We left it a bit late to get sponsored,” admitted Dave.

“We’re just doing it for the fun of it.”

Michelle Berridge was part of the team from animal charity Pawz for Thought and was taking part in her first dip just three weeks after undergoing brain surgery.

“I feel absolutely fine,” she said.

Michelle’s Pawz for Thought team-mate Mags Hudson has been doing the dip to raise money for animal charities for the last 14 years, and Pawz for Thought for the last 

She said: “It is just so well organised every year and everyone really enjoys themselves.

“We all have our jobs for the rest of the year, but this one day we all get to come together.”