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‘Local heroes’ hailed as record numbers take the plunge

PUBLISHED: 16:24 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:24 10 March 2020

The Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick Howes

The Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick Howes

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Organisers have hailed the success of a popular festive tradition.

The Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick Howes

Santas, Christmas elves, inflatables, bananas and superheroes were among hundreds of people who took the plunge at the 42nd official Lowestoft Christmas Day swim.

Crowds of around 3,000 people turned out to cheer on the brave particiapants, as 'the biggest turn out yet' of more than 400 registered swimmers took part in the festive plunge into the sea.

The Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick Howes

With the popular spectacle sponsored by Kingsley Healthcare, it was organised and supported once more by Sentinel Leisure Trust, HM Coastguard, The Lowestoft Volunteer Lifeguard Corps, The Lowestoft Lions and St John Ambulance.

A spokesman for Sentinel Leisure Trust said: 'This was the swim's biggest turn out yet with over 400 official registered 'heroes' who helped raise a massive £8557.31 that will be shared eqally between local beneficiaries.'

Spectators watch on at the Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick HowesSpectators watch on at the Christmas Day swim in Lowestoft 2019. Pictures: Mick Howes

These are Brainwave Independence Group, Wish List, Waveney Surf Lifesaving Club, Lowestoft Foodbank, Suffolk Artlink, Allsorts Support Services, Lowestoft Lions, Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corps, St John Ambulance, Changing Lives & Making Memories Schemes, The Brian Gallagher Football Fund.

A presentation evening is to be held this month at Waterlane Leisure Centre to present the beneficiaries with their personalised cheques.

Claire Henwood, chief executive of Sentinel Leisure Trust, said: 'Since the 2015 swim we have raised nearly £60,000 for local charities.

'I must thank all involved who generously donated their time and resource to be able to put on this event each year.

'The 'on the day team' - all volunteering on Christmas Day - once again did an exceptional job including an early start and delayed Christmas dinner to ensure the event runs smoothly.

'I would also like to thank all of the 'Local Heroes' - the participants - as they, together with the generous donations from the spectators raised a good amount of money once again.'

Matt Stebbings, senior physical activity and health manager at Sentinel Leisure Trust, added: 'The money will help very valuable local causes.

'A final mention also to our sponsors this year, without them the marquee wouldn't have been possible - Kingsley Healthcare, Lowestoft Lions and the Kirkley Poors Land Trust.'

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