Over 200 people braved the cold weather to take a Christmas Day Dip in the sea which raised over £35,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice.
The hardy fundraisers in swimsuits or fancy dress had a cool yule when they took part in the mass sponsored swim in the sea off Felixstowe at 10am.
Outside the temperature was minus two degrees Celsius – and in the water it was around 5 degrees Celsius making it the coldest St Elizabeth Hospice Christmas Day Dip on record.
Many of the participants took on the challenge in memory of a loved-one who has died or to give something back to the Hospice where a friend or relative was cared for.
Hundreds of people also gathered on the beach to watch the spectacle and everyone was warmed up with mulled wine and mince pies afterwards.
It was the seventh Christmas Day Dip organised to raise money for the Hospice, a charity which costs £6.6m a year to run. The event started in 2003 when Hospice supporter Peter Burt took a festive swim in the pool in his back garden. He took part in this year’s event, which has grown in popularity over the years.
Event organiser Rachael Mittell, who for the first time also went into the sea, said: “We knew it was going to be a cold one and everyone was prepared to go that extra mile to take part in this year’s Christmas Day Dip. It made it even more memorable and certainly more of a challenge. It was very cold in the water but so rewarding.
“Every penny raised will help St Elizabeth Hospice continue to provide its services free of charge to the east Suffolk community. What a fantastic Christmas present! Thank you to everyone who took part, sponsored a friend or relative or came down to watch. It was a fun way to start the festivities but also a poignant way for the many people who attended in memory of a loved-one they are missing this Christmas.”
Miss Mittell also thanked the local coastguards for overseeing the event and Morrisons in Ipswich and Felixstowe for providing mince pies and the Brooke Hotel in Felixstowe for donating mulled wine.