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Thousands turn out for Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim

PUBLISHED: 11:31 25 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:35 25 December 2018

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes

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Hundreds of swimmers braved the biting cold and harsh winds to jump head first into the freezing sea - all in the name of charity.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.

Festive cheer was the only thing keeping people warm as the annual Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim returned for its 41st year.

More than 200 swimmers braved the cold sea, dressed in costumes ranging from a team of inflatable Santa Claus, elves, and reindeer to giant Crayola and sharks.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.

The brave swimmers were cheered on by thousands of spectators who lined the beach near Claremont Pier to show their support for one of the town’s most beloved spectacles.

The event is organised by Sentinel Leisure Trust and raises money for a host of Waveney-based charities.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.

Last year after a record turnout £13,300 was raised.

And organiser Matt Stebbings is hoping this year the swim will be able to raise £15,000.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.

He said: “It’s become a bit of a Christmas tradition, you get up early – it extends your Christmas Day.

“It’s one of the only traditions still running in the town and it’s only getting bigger.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.

“The money raised stays with local people. It’s exactly what the swim is about; local people giving local money to local charities.”

Jamie Carter, 30, was taking part in the swim for the third time and had travelled from Essex to do so.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.

He said: “It’s nice to see all your friends together on Christmas Day. It’s good fun making a show of yourselves and a good thing when you usually stay inside all day.

“It’s organised by local people, keeping the local community together which doesn’t happen a lot anymore.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: Mick Howes.

He added: “It’s a special thing to be a part of.”

Gail Durrant was taking part for the first time this year along with 12-year-old step-son Charlie Alden.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.

Ms Durrant was inspired to take part after watching last year’s event from the sidelines.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely amazing, it’s a good way to raise money for the charities – we have already raised $127.50.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim 2018. Photo: James Carr.

The organisations set to benefit from the swim include; Lowestoft Thursday Club, Warren Association, Waveney Enterprises Craft Workshop, Women Like Me, Topcats, Surviving United, Lowestoft Lions, Lowestoft Lifeguard, St John Ambulance, Changing Lives Scheme, Making Memories Scheme and The Brian Gallagher Football Fund.

Along the coast in Southwold more than 200 swimmers rushed into the sea with the Southwold Rotary Club - raising thousands for charity.

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