Record numbers brave icy sea temperatures for Cromer’s 30th annual Boxing Day dip
PUBLISHED: 16:24 26 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:47 27 December 2018
More than 300 festive fundraisers braved sea temperatures as low as four degrees, to take part in Cromer’s 30th annual Boxing Day dip.
Crowds in their thousands lined the promenade and pier to watch, as wacky characters ranging from Santa and his elves, to Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, sprinted into the icy waves in aid of the Norwich and central Norfolk branch of mental health charity Mind.
The event, which is organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, has grown year on year since just a handful of club members decided to go for a Boxing Day swim for fun in 1988.
Kicking off with a 40-minute fun run from Cromer pier to Overstrand and back, this year’s event was dedicated to the memory of local teenager Nyall Brown, who took his own life six months ago after struggling with mental ill-health.
A keen sportsman, Nyall regularly attended North Norfolk Beach Runners meetings with his father Mearl, who was among those taking part in the dip.
For Billie Goldsmith, of Holt, who signed up for the swim for the fourth year running with her husband Sean, the event was a “big adrenaline rush”, as well as being an opportunity to raise funds for a cause very close to her heart.
“Mind means a lot to me as my mum suffered from depression and took her own life six years ago,” she said.
Others taking part included the Jewers family, who turn out for the Boxing Day dip and the annual New Year’s Day swim at Sheringham every year, to Sheringham Primary School PE teacher Zoe Parish, a Beach Runners member who signed up with her mum Wendy.
“It’s just exhilarating,” she said. “It’s absolutely freezing when you are standing waiting on the beach, but when you get in, it’s just exhilarating.”
Long-standing club member Clive Hedges, who has only missed taking part in the dip once in 24 years, hoped to top last year’s total of more than £4,400.
“I think we have definitely seen a record turnout this year,” he said. “We were worried as the tide was a bit high, but nobody seemed to mind and, at 4.2 degrees, the sea was just balmy!”
Mr Hedges thanked all those who had supported the event, including dippers, spectators and Cromer RNLI, St John Ambulance and Cromer Coastguard.
Donations to the event can still be made at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nnbeachrunners