Lowestoft's Christmas Day swim cancelled for second year running
- Credit: Mick Howes
A popular festive tradition that attracts thousands of people has had to be cancelled amid the continuing coronavirus crisis.
Organisers of the annual Lowestoft Christmas Day swim have taken the decision to cancel this year's spectacle once more as Covid-19 cases rise with Omicron now the dominant variant.
It means that the popular swim - which attracted crowds of around 3,000 people and “the biggest turn out yet” of more than 400 registered swimmers for the 42nd festive plunge into the sea in 2019 - has been called off for the second successive year.
With 2020 being the first year in its history that organisers had known the event to be called off, hopes were high that hundreds of Santas, Christmas elves and superheroes would return for a 43rd festive plunge.
However organisers have "regrettably" had to cancel the scheduled Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2021, which raises much needed funds for local charities and causes.
Since the SLT Group took over the organisation of the swim, more than 1000 registered ‘heroes’ have raised £60,000 that has been shared among local beneficiaries.
Matt Stebbings, event volunteer for SLT Group, said: "Regrettably the organising committee of the Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim are cancelling the event for 2021.
"The organising team consists of representatives from SLT Group, Lowestoft Volunteer Lifeguard Corps, HM Coastguard Lowestoft, St John Ambulance Lowestoft and Lowestoft Lions Club.
“After a lot of hard work, we are truly gutted that the event cannot go ahead once more.
"As a team we have had many conversations and after looking into the numerous risks involved and the ever-increasing case numbers of COVID-19, we felt the safest thing for the town was to cancel the event once more.
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"People's safety at this time of year is paramount and even with restrictions in place, the event would put a large number of people in the same place and the Omicron variant is highly transmissible.
"I would like to thank everyone involved this year including our headline sponsors JME Ltd.
"The event will be back next year, fingers crossed.”
For those who have already registered, the organisers are asking swimmers to continue to allow the charities to benefit from the swim registrations fee and donations, however if you would like a full refund, please email email@example.com by January 31 2022.
The organisers are discouraging anyone taking to Lowestoft beach during the festive period to undertake a cold-water dip without sufficient planning, preparation and safety.
For information on cold-water dips, visit https://rnli.org/safety/know-the-risks/cold-water-shock.