Organisers hope record number of 'local heroes' will brave the North Sea for Christmas Day swim
PUBLISHED: 15:48 02 November 2018 | UPDATED: 15:48 02 November 2018
Hundreds of people are expected to brave the cold for a festive dip in the sea as a popular tradition returns.
Applications are now open for this year’s Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim, with organisers encouraging more swimmers and spectators than ever before to make the event the biggest and best yet.
Returning for the 41st year, the fundraising swim is a much loved spectacle as the crowds line the promenade and beach to cheer on the swimmers – many of whom take part in fancy dress.
The swim is organised by Sentinel Leisure Trust with support from HM Coastguard Lowestoft and Southwold, The Lowestoft Volunteer Lifeguard Corps, Lowestoft Lions, St John Ambulance, The Claremont Pier and RNLI.
“This year the aim is simply bigger and better – we are aiming for our biggest amount of money in one year for the selected charities,” a spokesman for Sentinel said.
With the swim having raised £42,000 since Sentinel took over organisation of the event, more than 1,000 ‘heroes’ have registered and last year alone more than £13,000 was raised for local charities and worthy causes.
The Sentinel spokesman added: “This year we hope that even more local heroes get involved and brave the North Sea at this much loved and anticipated social calendar event.”
The Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim takes place on Monday, December 25, at 10am, at the Claremont Pier. With the swimmer applications now open, on registration swimmers are required to make a minimum £5 donation to ensure their registration is complete.
A number of local organisations and charities will benefit from swimmers sponsorship’s this year, with this year’s beneficiaries: Lowestoft Thursday Club, Warren Association, Waveney Enterprises Craft Workshop, Women Like Me, Topcats, Surviving United, Lowestoft Lions, Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corps, St John Ambulance, Changing Lives/Making Memories scheme, The Brian Gallagher Football Fund.
Stuart Everett, Sentinel Leisure Trust managing director, said “Since the 2015 swim, we have set ourselves a massive target topping last year’s total. “This year being the 41st swim we are encouraging swimmers and spectators to donate generously to ensure we smash our target.”
Matt Stebbings, physical activity and health development manager at Sentinel Leisure Trust, said: “Each year we raise the bar on our target and this year should not be any different.
“The swim started with a few friends jumping in the sea on Christmas Day and 41 years later it has become a popular event and tradition for many people, including myself each year.
“We struggled with donations last year with some non-registered swimmers raising money for charities who did not apply to be a beneficiary. The swim is for local, not nationally backed charities who benefit the local community and have been selected for their work they are currently doing.
“It is unfair to those charities that have been through the application process correctly. This year we are using online donations as well as on the day collections to please donate as much as you can to help these great causes.
“See you on Christmas Day.”
Organisers gave a big thank you to The Claremont Pier for stepping in to again host this year’s swim - adding “without them the swim would not be able to go ahead.”
Scott’s will also be open for spectators to enjoy food and drink while the swim takes place and for a brief period after. Dogs are welcome in the first half of the café.
With all money raised going to the charities, organisers are encouraging all swimmers and those supporting the event to use the online donation page.
Visit www.sltrust.co.uk/xmasdayswim to register or donate.