Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Boxing Day Dippers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Boxing Day Dippers

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

BRAVE souls shed their clothes and took to the North Sea at a series of Boxing Day dips. Hardy folk stripped down to their swimming gear and dashed into the freezing cold water at organised events up and down the region's coastline.

This Boxing Day tradition saw dips taking place at Whitley Bay, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Seaburn, Seaham, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and South Shields.

At Whitley Bay, around 120 folk took part in the dip, amid sea temperatures of six degrees.

The event, in its 17th year and organised as ever by the North East Volunteer Lifeguards, was the last dip hosted from the NEVL's current beach base due to the renovation of the seafront planned for next year.

Participants raced into the water wearing commemorative t-shirts, bearing the phrase "Last swim of the prom."

Around 60 friends and family of the NEVL, former members and people from local clubs took part, with that number doubled by members of the public signing up on the day.

Numbers were slightly down on previous years, with the plethora of other events thought to be the cause.

Participants raised around PS1,000 for the NEVL - with raffles and t-shirt sales - and the bulk of money is to go towards the cost of a new base.

Dippers also raised money for charities of their own.

NEVL chairman and founding member Joe Welsh, a 63 year old self employed kitchen fitter from Whitley Bay, was taking part - as he has done for each of the 17 years.

He was also in the water the longest of anyone. "I am one of three founder members left and I am the only one that gets in the water. It is tradition that I am always the last one out.

"It is not bad this morning. It is relative isn't it? The Air temperature is not bad, the water temperature is about six degrees which is average for this time of year. …

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