Video and photo gallery: Mankinis and festive headgear on show for Boxing Day dips at Cromer, Mundesley and Overstrand

Boxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill Smith Boxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, December 26, 2013
2:13 PM

Tutus, tinsel, trunks and onesies were among the colourful clothing swimmers donned when they dashed into the sea for Boxing Day dips along the north Norfolk coast.

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Boxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill SmithBoxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill Smith

Brave souls of all ages assembled on the beaches at Cromer, Mundesley and Overstrand for the festive tradition, before launching themselves into the chilly North Sea.

At Cromer hundreds of people took part in the dip, organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, while scores more lined the promenade, clifftop and pier to watch the colourful spectacle.

This year’s event raised money for the Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association (Nansa), with organisers rattling buckets among the crowds, while many swimmers leapt into the surf on their own personal fundraising mission.

Neil Roberston, from North Walsham, took the plunge in a lurid green mankini with a team of colleagues from Your Choice Social Centre.

Boxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill SmithBoxing Day swimmers at Cromer. Photo: Bill Smith

The 24-year-old said: “This is the first time I’ve done the dip and I thought I’d go all out. The way I looked at it, it’s going to be cold in there whether I go in fully clothed or not, so this saves on washing.”

Fellow first timer Jade Armstrong, who was crowned Miss Cromer during this summer’s carnival, jumped into the waves in a floor length gown and paper crown.

The 29-year-old from Thorpe Market took part in aid of the Benjamin Foundation and managed to raise more than £100 in just five days, after deciding do the dip on Sunday

She said: “I thought it’s now or never, I’m doing it before I’m 30. I have done a fire walk two years ago but I have never jumped in the sea in the middle of summer, let alone in the middle of winter.”

Others made a trip to the coast for a repeat run. Simon Hughes, 27, and his sister Abigail, 17, travelled with supporters from Fakenham for their third dip, and raised money for Marie Curie.

As a veteran dipper Mr Hughes said going in was not “as bad as you think” but coming out was worse.

“You have to try and stay in there for as long as possible,” he added. “We’re the first ones in and last ones out.”

Clive Hedges, chairman of the beach runners, hoped the day had raised between £1,500 and £2,000 for Nansa, which was the group’s chosen charity as one of its members uses its services.

Mr Hedges was delighted with the turn out and the amount of first timers who took part.

“It’s been tremendous, it’s become a Boxing Day event that nobody wants to miss and it gives you bragging rights until Easter,” he added.

Around 60 people dived into the sea at Mundesley for the dip organised by the Friends of Mundesley Voluntary Inshore Lifeboat, which raised money for the village’s junior school and air scouts.

Coxswain Brian Hall said there was a lot of screaming as people hit the water but the sea temperature was slightly warmer than last year.

“There were lots of people dressed up and they really did look great,” he added. “We were thoroughly impressed with all the stuff that’s been happening along the coast to see so many people come out on Boxing Day.”

At Overstrand, wooly hats mixed with festive headgear as a brave clutch of dippers - many just in swimwear - plunged into the sea, to raise money for the Millennium Group playground.

Mike Kidd, who was among the villagers that helped put the swim on, said the dip had gone well, with many people enjoying a hot mug of mulled cider before and after taking the plunge.

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