Boxing Day dippers take the plunge

Darlington and Stockton Times: EASY DOES IT: Friends hold hands for moral support as they brave the North Sea at Redcar EASY DOES IT: Friends hold hands for moral support as they brave the North Sea at Redcar

IT’S not every day Spongebob Square Pants runs into the icy North Sea followed by a man dressed as a fairy and ‘Wonderwoman’.

The fancy dress spectacle was repeated up and down the North-East coastline today (Thursday) as hundreds of brave swimmers braced themselves for a traditional Boxing Day dip.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

In Redcar, where the time was pushed back from 11am to 1pm due to safety concerns raised by the RNLI, the beach was teeming with thrillseekers eager to wash away their festive overindulgence.

Rory Brown from Redcar said: "I didn't think water was as cold as cold as it was last year. But ’m happy it’s over,” added the 28-year-old clutching a hot drink.

A group of seven mothers with children all at Ormesby Primary School, Middlesbrough, took the plunge with the aim of raising about £200 for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.

“I was waist-deep in water, it was like standing in a freezer,” said Lynsey Smith, 33, from Ormesby. “We wanted to support Zoe’s Place as it is a local charity which does such good work and has very high running costs.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Mike Noble was watched running into the sea by family including his six-year-old daughter, Ava. “It was a cold as last year but I was better mentally prepared this time,” he said. “It’s good fun and everyone is doing it for the same reason – to have a laugh,” added the 40-year-old from Yarm.

People of all ages pulled on their fancy dress and swimming costumes to participate in the 39th annual dip at Seaburn, near Sunderland.

The charity event, which is run by Sunderland Lions Club, has become a traditional way of raising money for a number of good causes.

And the festive season was still under way with participants dressed as Santa, fairies and Christmas gifts.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Among the crowds were a group of eight men and women all donning plastic snakes and t-shirts baring the words "I'm freezing get me out of here!"

At South Shields, South Tyneside Paralympic swimming champion Josef Craig was among the dippers raising funds for St Clare’s Hospice, in his home town of Jarrow.

And in Hartlepool the town’s round table club hoped to top the £20,000 raised by 330 participants at last year’s event.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

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