Take an icy plunge this Christmas!

RICHARD BATSON The Hunstanton Christmas Day swim, which is one of west Norfolk's most eccentric traditions, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. An in Cromer, a simialr event will be held on Boxing Day.


The Hunstanton Christmas Day swim, which is one of west Norfolk's most eccentric traditions, will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

The popular event has raised tens of thousands of pounds for numerous charities over the years, when brave swimmers take to the freezing waters for the annual dip.

In a bid to make the event even bigger and better than ever this year, organisers are now appealing for as many swimmers as possible to take part in the event.

It is 50 years since just four members of the Seagull's Swimming Club decided to fill the lull between present opening and Christmas dinner with a quick swim in the sea, and the event has grown year on year.

Most years more than £5,000 is raised from the event, and hundreds of spectators line the promenade and beach to watch.

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Money raised from this year's madcap swim will go towards Tapping House, the Norfolk Hospice, along with other local charities.

Most swimmers take part in the event wearing fancy dress costumes. Popular outfits include Santas, nurses and last years there were even some cricketers.

The event is organised by the Hunstanton District Round Table.

Paul Searle, press and publicity officer for the Round Table, said there were plans to give participants a commemorative certificate for taking part.

He said: “We are hoping more people will come as it is a special year. The event is now part and parcel of the Hunstanton calendar and a must event for people in the town. It is a unique event to raise money for good causes and I've been in there a couple of times myself and it is a unique experience!”

Sponsorship forms are available from Witley Press Shop, in High Street, Hunstanton, and Fishers of Hunstanton in Greevegate.

Swimmers can compete as individuals or teams and prizes will be awarded for the best fancy dress competition. There is £100 prize for the best-dressed team and £25 for the best-dressed individual. Registration for the swim will be at the Oasis from 10am on Christmas Day.

The Norfolk Hospice plans to have its own team taking part. Anyone who wants to find out more about joining the swim or who would like a sponsorship form should contact 01485 542891.

t Hardy souls will be “going dippy” again at a series of sponsored dashes into the sea over the festive period along the north Norfolk coast.

Cromer's beach next to the pier will once again be the venue for an 11am Boxing Day dip organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, this year in aid of the Sheringham Children's Trust which provides help for bereaved children through grants for school books, sports kit, and computer equipment.

Just along the coast there are two more 11am dips on the same day - one at Mundesley lifeboat station raising funds for the independent life-saving station, and another at Overstrand where participants chose their own good causes.

On New Year's Day people will be jumping into the river at Blakeney Quay boosting funds for the local primary school.

Among those taking part in an event, which last year raised £5,000, is local celebrity chef Galton Blackiston from Morston Hall.

Registration is from 11am with the dip at noon. More information from Diddy Hall on 01263 741748 or Jane Temple on 01263 741628.

For those preferring to start the New Year by staying dry Cromer will again be staging its January 1 fireworks display on the pier at 5pm.

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