'Without them we would be struggling': Care group comes to aid of Christmas Day Swim
PUBLISHED: 13:39 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:39 13 November 2019
A popular festive tradition has received a welcome boost after a care group stepped in to ensure the Christmas Day Swim goes ahead in Lowestoft once more this year.
Organisers of the annual event, which sees hundreds of people take the plunge and brave the cold for a festive dip in the sea on Christmas Day, had been left without a venue for swimmers to register and use as changing facilities - sparking fears for the future of the swim.
But the tradition will return after Kingsley Healthcare stepped in to back this year's Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim by sponsoring the event with the hire of a marquee for swimmers to register.
Applications are now open for 42nd annual spectacle with organisers encouraging more swimmers and spectators than ever before to turn out and make the event the biggest and best yet.
With the swim organised and supported by Sentinel Leisure Trust, HM Coastguard, the Lowestoft Volunteer Lifeguard Corps, the Lowestoft Lions, St John Ambulance and RNLI, hopes are high that thousands of pounds will be raised for local charities.
Since Sentinel Leisure Trust took over the organisation of the swim, it has seen more than 1,000 registered 'heroes', raising a massive £52,000 to be shared amongst local beneficiaries.
A Sentinel spokesman said: "This year we are delighted to be sponsored by Kingsley Healthcare, who have stepped in to ensure the swim continues.
"The swim was left without a venue in early November and after conversations, Kingsley Healthcare are delighted to step in and sponsor the swim, by ensuring the swim can hire in a marquee for registered swimmers, who can register and use as changing facilities."
This year's registration will take place north of The Thatch at a marquee placed on Lord Kitchener's Gardens.
Claire Henwood, chief executive of Sentinel Leisure Trust, said: "I am really proud at the work the volunteer team behind the swim do and create a great spectacle for the town where 100 per cent of the money raised goes to the well-deserved local charities.
"This year being the swims 42nd, 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: "A huge thank you to Kingsley Healthcare who have stepped in and sponsored the hire of the marquee to ensure the swim runs.
"Without them we would be struggling for a safe space for swimmers to register, keep warm and get changed. The marquee will be for registered swimmers only and upon registration swimmers will receive a wristband."
Kingsley Healthcare chief executive Daya Thayan said: "The Christmas Day swim has become a great occasion in Lowestoft, raising lots of money for good causes, and it has become an important part of Christmas for many local families.
"When we heard the future of the swim was in doubt we were delighted to help.
"Although we are now a national company, our roots remain in Lowestoft.
"Our head office is in the town and we have three care homes here."
Charities to benefit
This year's beneficiaries of the Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim are:
Brainwave Independence Group, Wish List Bikers, Waveney Surf Lifesaving Club, Lowestoft Foodbank, Suffolk Artlink, Allsorts Support Services, Brian Gallagher Football Fund (SLT split representative), Changing Lives / Making Memories (SLT split representative) Lowestoft Lions, Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corps and St John Ambulance (local branch).
Swimmers applications are available at www.sltrust.co.uk/xmasdayswim.
On registration swimmers are required to make the minimum £5 donation to ensure their registration is complete.
Organisers are also encouraging all swimmers and donators to use the online donation page to donate to the swim via www.sltrust.co.uk/donate.
Organisers will also be operating a wristband system this year so please make sure you register as no registration, no swim.