Boxing Day dippers delight as thousands turn out to join in charity celebrations

Brrrr-illiant Boxing Day dippers were cheered on by a huge crowd as they joined in the festive tradition.

Sunderland Lions Club hosted the event at Seaburn for the 44th year, with the parade leaving the Grand Hotel and making its way through the crowds and down to the water earlier on today.

Santa outfits were among the Christmas costumes which featured in the event.

Santa outfits were among the Christmas costumes which featured in the event.

Watch our gallery of 2018 Sunderland Boxing Day Dip pictures

Many rose to the challenge of wearing fancy dress for the event including bananas, flamingos , Lego figures and plenty of festive outfits.

Among them were Donna Grieves, 42, from Roker, Danielle Williams, 37, from Castletown, Laura Wicker, 28, Linda Middleton, 55, both from Hendon, and Taylor Davies, 27, from Silksworth, with the friends raising funds for Dementia UK as they dressed up as princesses on flying carpets.

Donna said: “We love it, you get a real adrenaline rush, but the thing that makes it is all the crowds of people that come down and it’s such a good atmosphere, it’s just brilliant and lovely.

Julie Reay and her Footprints in the Sand team enjoyed joining in the fun.

Julie Reay and her Footprints in the Sand team enjoyed joining in the fun.

“It was cold, but it’s that adrenaline, it goes through you and we like to stay in until last.

A total of 178 people registered to take part in this year’s dip, with numbers reduced since the Seaburn Centre was closed down and the move made to the Grand Hotel, where people have been able to dress up ready for their dip.

A team of nursery teachers from Nursery Time Kindergarten in Beach Road, South Shields, were among the last to leave the water.

Jess Everest, 27, from South Shields, was joined by Megan Tedder, 27, from Silksworth, Helen Allan, 26, from South Shields, and Helen Coulson, 29, from Marley Pots, as they raised money for Fanconi Hope, a charity which supports those with Fanconi Anaemia, a rare, life-limiting genetic disorder.

Donna Grieves and her group head into the water.

Donna Grieves and her group head into the water.

They decided to back it after a child who attended their school had the condition, with around £300 collected in from sponsors so far.

Jess said: "The reason why we're doing this is because a little girl who came to our nursery had Fanconi Anaemia, so we wanted to raise money for the charity.

"It's been amazing and there's been a great atmosphere."

Helen Allan added: "I was really anxious before we came out, but it's been good fun and it gives you a real adrenaline rush."

Dippers splashed around in the water after making their initial dash.

Dippers splashed around in the water after making their initial dash.

Sunderland charity champ Julie Reay also led a group into the sea as they raised funds for 4Louis.

Read more: Sunderland Boxing Day dip team get ready to raise thousands for 4Louis charity

Anne Fielding, of Sunderland Lions Club, said: “All these people here have been raising money for charity.

“It’s lovely to see, as the hard work starts back in August and it’s a great tradition and it’s great that people come out to watch.

“We see the same people come back and do it again and again and there’s always a lovely atmosphere.

“The fancy dresses are wonderful and they always look amazing.”

The club added its thanks to the Grand Hotel, HM Coastguard, Sunderland Volunteer Life Brigade, and Sunderland’s RNLI crew, which all offered support at the event.

The air temperature at the time of the dip was 9° and the water temperature was 7°.

Sunderland Lions Club organises the event to raise funds for its own good causes, as well as allowing dippers to collect for their charities and organisations.