Boxing Day dippers make a splash

In they go! Heading for the sea at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett
In they go! Heading for the sea at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett

Hardy souls took the plunge in the chilly North Sea for the annual Boxing Day dip at Newbiggin.

The dippers, some of them in fancy dress, made a dash for the water, to the delight of hudnreds of spectators on the beach and promenade.

Ahoy there! A pirate crew at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett

Ahoy there! A pirate crew at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett

Many were raising funds for charity while some just did it for fun and to wash off the excesses of Christmas Day.

The event, begun in the 1980s by Ashington Lions, was organised by Newbiggin RNLI lifeboat station and raised more than £1,075 for the RNLI through generous support via sponsorship, together with other donations.

The Newbiggin Ladies Fundraising Team volunteers also had a busy morning providing refreshments that were served from the lifeboat station.

Meanwhile, on the beach, Newbiggin’s lifeboat volunteers and the local Coastguard teams from Newbiggin and Blyth marshalled and controlled the event.

A damp fairy. Picture by John Tuttiett

A damp fairy. Picture by John Tuttiett

Lifeboats from Newbiggin and Blyth stood by at sea to provide essential safety cover.

One of the event supporters was Stephen Gray, from Christchurch, who had travelled to the area for a visiting Christmas but also to support Newbiggin RNLI and make his annual donation.

Apart from money raised for the RNLI, a host of other charities were represented.

One of these groups was Calmer Therapy, which supports children with additional needs and is based at Guidepost.

Brr! Picture by John Tuttiett

Brr! Picture by John Tuttiett

Donna Swan, from the group, said: “We are having a brilliant day here and hope to raise some extra money for our services thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Part of our efforts today are with Dressed for the Prom, a community group that provides free outfits for young people attending special events.”

Another group raising funds was the Butokokan Judo Club, a family-based club, run by Michael Douglass and his sons Glen and Andrew, as well as family friend Steve Smith.

Andrew said: “Thanks for Newbiggin RNLI in organising this fantastic event and our supporters where we will be raising funds for our judo group at the sports centre here in Newbiggin.”

Lisa Secombe, from Cancer Research, and her team of volunteers also took part.

Braving the waves at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett

Braving the waves at Newbiggin. Picture by John Tuttiett

Lisa said: “We have raised over £51,000 and this event will be a preamble to next year’s programme, including the Northumberland Relay for Life and Women v Cancer Cycle Costa Rica with this team-building event today leading to next year’s 250-mile cycle ride in Costa Rica.”

Dressed to impress - the Calmer Therapy team prepares to take the plunge. Picture by Richard Martin

Dressed to impress - the Calmer Therapy team prepares to take the plunge. Picture by Richard Martin

RNLI volunteers were on hand. Picture by Richard Martin

RNLI volunteers were on hand. Picture by Richard Martin

Stormy Sam and helpers outside Newbiggin lifeboat station. Picture by Richard Martin

Stormy Sam and helpers outside Newbiggin lifeboat station. Picture by Richard Martin

There they go! Picture by Richard Martin

There they go! Picture by Richard Martin

Spectators lined the beach for the Newbiggin Boxing Day dip. Picture by Richard Martin

Spectators lined the beach for the Newbiggin Boxing Day dip. Picture by Richard Martin