North-East set to make a splash at Boxing Day dips along the coast

Darlington and Stockton Times: Scene from a previous Boxing Day Dip at Seaton Carew Scene from a previous Boxing Day Dip at Seaton Carew

THOUSANDS of hardy souls will brave the icy waters of the North Sea in charity dips on Thursday (December 26).

Taking the plunge in fancy dress costume has become a Boxing Day tradition in towns and cities along the North-East coastline in recent decades.

Organised events are being staged by clubs and community groups as dippers from Whitley Bay to Redcar seek to shake off the festive excesses.

The biggest splash is expected to be made at Seaburn, in Sunderland, where the dip is in its 39th year.

Sunderland Lions Club expects between 800 and 1,000 participants to parade onto the beach from the nearby Seaburn Centre, led by Hetton Silver Band and the city's Mayor, councillor Bob Heron, at 11am.

Club organisers hope on-the-day collections, coupled with sponsorship pledges, will near the £53,251 raised for local good causes by last year’s event.

A few miles up the coast at South Shields, South Tyneside Paralympic swimming champion Josef Craig will be among the dippers raising funds for St Clare’s Hospice, in his home town of Jarrow.

The event takes place on Little Haven Beach, also at 11am, with the nearby Little Haven hotel providing warming soup for dippers and lifeguard volunteers.

Redcar's newly revamped seafront esplanade will provide a better than usual vantage point for spectators at the 43rd annual dip, now staged by the east Cleveland town's Rotary Club.

As a result Moore Street and the lifeboat ramp will be closed to spectators.

Several hundred people are expected to take part and they are asked to register at The Livery, in the High Street, Redcar. The start has been put back to 1pm, following concerns over the weather.

Hartlepool Round Table Club took over the running of the town’s dip last year, and hope to top the £20,000 raised by 330 participants at the event on Boxing Day, 2012.

Registration is at The Staincliffe Hotel, at The Cliff, Seaton Carew, from 10am with the event from the nearby beach at 11am.

Seaham Harbour docks provides the sheltered setting for the town’s dip, run in recent years by East Durham Round Table.

Registration opens at Seaham Marina at 10.30am with dippers entering the water via the dock slope, from 11am to noon. There is a £5 charge.

Meanwhile the word 'dip' does not feature in the title of the event organised by the hardy members of the North Sea Volunteer Lifeguards, at Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

They are staging the 15th Boxing Day Swim from lifeguards’ headquarters, on the Central Lower Promenade, oat 11am.

Registration from lifeguards' premises, from 10.15 to 10.55am, with an £8 charge for special '15 Years of Madness' event t-shirts.

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