Crowds brave freezing winds to take part in Sunderland's Boxing Day Dip
More than 200 hardy souls braced the freezing waters off Seaburn for Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip.
And hundreds more lined the promenade to show their support for an event that raised more than £30,000 for a range of good causes.
Sunderland Lions Club organises the dip each year and spokeswoman Anne Fielding was delighted with the 2019 turn-out.
“We had 230 people taking part and last year we had 180, so we are well up this year, which is excellent,” she said.
Dippers will raise an estimated £28,000 for their own good causes, and the Lions will collect more than £5,000 from the £25 entry fee per person.
Taking part in her last Dip was Julie Reay, who set up her Footprints In The Sand fundraising team after son Peter David Lane died in a rope swing accident in 2002 aged just 13.
The Peter David Lane Trust Fund has raised more than £70,000 for good causes in Sunderland from the Dip alone over 15 years.
“I can’t find the words to express how emotional it was,” said Julie.
“I think I have taken the Dip as far as I can go but I will definitely miss it.”
Christina Lord and Madi Graham, dressed as birthday cakes, were doing the Dip to raise funds for The Robert Sinclair Davidson Foundation, which offers financial support to young couples and families affected by life-threatening or terminal illness.
“It is rather a last minute thing but a friend has just lost her husband to Motor Neurone Disease,” said Christina, while Madi added: “We just felt we had to do something.”
Lauren Sampson and boyfriend Tyler Page had traveled from the U.S. to take the plunge.
Lauren, 23, emigrated to America nine years ago and the pair have been back to spend Christmas with family.
“It has been a great experience,” said Tyler.
Dan Scanlon, from Bury in Greater Manchester, is in Sunderland to spend Christmas with his girlfriend’s family and took part in the Dip in an inflatable dinosaur costume.
“It’s my first Dip, so I went big,” he said.
“It was fantastic – what an experience.”