Organisers hope for record number of swimmers and donations as event marks 40th year
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A charity fundraiser which sees hundreds of people braving the cold for a dip in the sea on Christmas Day is back for the 40th year.
Applications are now open for this year's Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim, and in celebration of the milestone organisers are encouraging more swimmers and spectators to make it the biggest and best yet.
The swim is a spectacle that is well-loved locally, with crowds lining the promenade and beach to cheer on the swimmers, many of which complete the event in fancy dress.
The swim is organised and supported by Sentinel Leisure Trust, HM Coastguard, The Lowestoft Volunteer Lifeguard Corps, The Lowestoft Lions, St John Ambulance, The Claremont Pier and RNLI.
And since Sentinel took over the organisation of the event, it has seen more than 1,000 swimmers sign up to take part, raising £29,000 for local beneficiaries.
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Stuart Everett, managing director of Sentinel Leisure Trust, said: 'Since the 2015 swim, we have set ourselves a massive target of £10,000 per year. This year being the swims 40th anniversary we are encouraging swimmers and spectators to donate generously to ensure we smash our target.'
Matt Stebbings, community sport and leisure development manager at Sentinel, added: 'Each year we raise the bar on our target and this year should not be any different. The swim started with a few friends jumping in the sea on Christmas Day and 40 years later it has become a popular event and tradition for many people, including myself each year.
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'We struggled with donations last year with some non-registered swimmers raising money for charities who did not apply to be a beneficiary. The swim is for local, not nationally backed charities who benefit the local community and have been selected for their work they are currently doing.
'This year we are using online donations as well as on the day collections to please donate as much as you can to help these great causes.'
This year's beneficiaries are: Ollie's Heroes, Brainwave Independence Group, Taylor High Memorial Fund, Local Children's Home, Topcats, Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Swimming Club, Brian Gallagher Football Fund, Lowestoft Lions, Lowestoft Lifeguard Volunteer Corp and the local branch of the St John Ambulance.
This year registration will take place at The Claremont Pier, with the swim starting at 10am.
The organisers would like to thank the pier team for stepping in to host the event, as without them it would not have been able to go ahead. Scott's restaurant on the pier will also be open for spectators to enjoy food and drink while the swim takes place and for a brief period after.
How to sign up
Applications are now open for swimmers to sign up, and this year two members of the Lowestoft Journal team - James Carr and Amy Smith - will be among those running into the sea.
On registration swimmers are required to make a minimum £5 donation to ensure their registration is complete.
All money will go to the charities listed and organisers are also encouraging all swimmers and those supporting the event to use the online donation page for the swim.
This can be found at www.sltrust.co.uk/donate. When submitting a donation, people are asked to reference 'Xmas Day Swim' and 'swimmer name' where applicable.
Money can still be handed in on the day, however organisers are asking as many people as possible to donate online.
They will also be operating a band system this year and anyone not registered will not be able to take part in the swim on the day.
To sign up and start your fundraising, visit www.sltrust.co.uk/xmasdayswim