Coastal dip finally takes place with droves turning out in fancy dress

Hunstanton swim

Members of the Hunstanton lifeboat crew and the town's mayor Adrian Winnington get set for their Easter dip - Credit: Chris Bishop

The mayor of a coastal resort donned his suit and chain as he took a dip in the sea, accompanied by a lifeboat crew dressed as chips and a flock of seagulls.

The Christmas swim at Hunstanton has finally gone ahead after it was cancelled last year because of Covid.

Hunstanton swim

Swimmers set off across the beach at Hunstanton - Credit: Chris Bishop

Droves of people took to the sea in north west Norfolk on Saturday, for what should have been the town's traditional December 25 charity dip.

Hunstanton swim

The Round Table banner leads the way down the beach - Credit: Chris Bishop

They braved the waters of the Wash to wade out to a Hunstanton Round Table banner, before ducking beneath it to qualify for their certificate.

Hunstanton swim

Swimmers had to reach the Round Table banner and duck under to complete the challenge - Credit: Chris Bishop

Before the swimmers set out on the time-honoured procession down the foreshore, Matt Hallard, from organisers Hunstanton Round Table warned them: "Today is the coldest day of the year in the sea."

Hunstanton swim

Before setting out, swimmers were warned today was usually the coldest of the year in the sea - Credit: Chris Bishop

Colleague Ryan Darby added over the last 60 years the tradition grew as people worked up an appetite after Christmas dinner. 

The swim has raised more than £150,000 for charities and good causes in and around Hunstanton.

Hunstanton swim

A woman with a giant pink flamingo makes her way back to the beach - Credit: Chris Bishop

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Mr Darby said monies collected from Saturday's event would go the Pandora Project, Jade's Retreat, National Autism Society and the Purfleet Trust.

HUnstanton swim

Young fans meet the Easter Bunny before the swim - Credit: Chris Bishop

Thousands usually turn out to cheer the swimmers on from the Prom and a sizeable crowd had gathered outside Sea Life Hunstanton to spur them on as the allotted hour of 11am neared.

HUnstanton swim

Swimmers Rachel (L) and Kathryn Larman before the swim - Credit: Chris Bishop

While many donned fancy dress, Hunstanton Mayor Adrian Winnington turned out in suit, tie and replica mayor's chain.

Hustanton swim

Hunstanton Mayor Adrian Winnington after the swim - Credit: Chris Bishop

Looking almost as dapper when he came out of the sea as when he want in, Mr Winnington said: "It wasn't icebergs but it was cold."

HUnstanton swim

Members of the lifeboat crew and their families won best group costume - Credit: Chris Bishop

The lifeboat crew and family members won best team costume, while Colin Sargant took best individual.

Mr Sargant, 79, dressed in the uniform of the Royal Engineers in honour of his late father-in-law, Charles Bridgeman, who served in the regiment during the Second World War.

Hunstanton swim

Colin Sargant, who won best individual costume - Credit: Chris Bishop

Those taking part at least had the sun to warm their spirits on the way back across the beach, as temperatures nudged 18C.

Elsewhere, Hunstanton was busy on the second day of the Bank Holiday weekend, with long tailbacks on the A149 coast road from King's Lynn.