A record number of Hospice supporters braved the cold North Sea to take a Christmas Day Dip and raise around £40,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice.
330 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.
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 cheer the dippers on.
It was the eighth 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 Maidment, who also went into the sea for the second year running, said: “We are so grateful to everyone who took part and made this our biggest and best dip ever. Last year there were just over 200 people so to top that this year with 330 dippers is incredible. It was very cold in the water but so rewarding and the atmosphere was great.
“This year’s event raised an amazing £40,000 which will help St Elizabeth Hospice continue to provide its services free of charge to the Suffolk community. What a fantastic Christmas present! We’d also like to say a big thank you to those who sponsored a friend or relative or came to watch.”
Mrs Maidment also thanked the local coastguards for overseeing the event, Mayoress of Felixstowe Doreen Savage for attending and all the volunteers who gave up their time on Christmas Day.
St Elizabeth Hospice improves life for people in Suffolk living with a progressive illness. Its work is centred around an individual’s needs, which means specialist support, wherever it is required, whether at home, in the community or at the Hospice. The Hospice is an independent charity which provides services free of charge and relies on the support of the local community to help meet these costs through donations and fundraising events.