Over 500 fantastic festive fundraisers take part in Hartlepool Boxing Day Dip
More than 500 hardy fundraisers took part in Hartlepool’s annual Boxing Day dip with organisers hailing it the best in the whole country.
Over £100,000 for charities and good causes is expected to have been raised from the event which saw people of all ages and from far and wide take the plunge in the icy water at Seaton Carew beach.
Hartlepool Round Table organised the day and saw their biggest ever number of entrants.
Chairman Paul Thompson, who led the parade onto the beach, said: “We had in excess of 500 people which makes it the biggest Boxing Day Dip we have hosted.
“People have travelled great distances to be here today for the best Boxing Day Dip in the country.”
There was lots of fun and laughter as dippers met at the Marine Hotel before submerging themselves in the freezing waters while cheered on by hundreds of spectators.
But behind the fun, many were doing it in memory of loved ones and to raise money for serious causes.
Between 15 to 20 family and friends of Hartlepool man Matthew Levitt, who tragically took his own life in April, did it to raise awareness of mental health and raise money for Miles For Men.
They wore Miles For Men T-shirts with a picture of Matty on the back.
His brother Ben Levitt, who was joined by brother David and sister Gemma Fawcett, said: “We lost our brother and just want to try to save someone else.”
Boyfriend and girlfriend Adam Cowan and Georgia Johnson, who dressed as squids, were raising money for mental health charity Mind.
Adam, 20, said: “There’s a lot of mental health problems at the moment. We’ve done the dip before. It’s very cold but refreshing!”
Peter Walker, 52, from Norton, did it for Stockton’s Butterwick Hospice where friend Geri Skipp is undergoing treatment.
And friend Ian Hills, 56, from Billingham dressed as an oompa loompa, was raising money for cancer support in his brother-in-law Stewart Cessford’s name.
Ian said: “The dip’s brilliant. I love it. It’s part of Christmas.”
Lynsey Hyde, 34, from Witton-le-Wear, County Durham, and friends stood out dressed as fruit and vegetables.
Lynsey is trying to raise £70,000 to undergo stem cell treatment in Mexico for Multiple Sclerosis.
And road safety charity Blue For Jackson, named after toddler Jackson Yates from Yarm, who was killed in a car park accident, also entered a team led by his mum Cheryl Yates and uncle Darren Yates.