Hundreds of competitors braved the chilly North Sea to enjoy the annual Newbiggin Boxing Day Dip which was blessed with wall to wall sunshine and blue skies which further boosted dippers and spectators.
The large crowds on the beach and the many hardy souls who braved the sea were up on last year's count thanks to this established tradition of Boxing Day which was begun during the 1980's by the Ashington Lions.
The event was organised by Newbiggin RNLI lifeboat station and has raised over £1,075 today in donations for the RNLI that were realised through generous support via sponsorship together with other donations. The Newbiggin Ladies Fundraising Team volunteers also had a busy morning providing refreshments that were served during the morning from the lifeboat station. Meanwhile on the beach Newbiggin's lifeboat volunteers along with the local Coastguard teams from Newbiggin and Blyth marshalled and controlled the event on the beach with the lifeboat at sea providing seaward safety cover. Lifeboats from here at Newbiggin and our flank station at Blyth also took part to provide the essential event seaward safety cover.
One of the event supporters was Stephen Gray from Christchurch who had travelled to the area for a visiting Christmas but also to support the Newbiggin RNLI and make his annual donation. Stephen said' a big thank you to Newbiggin RNLI and their partner volunteer teams for putting on such a good event for Newbiggin residents and visitors like myself.'
Apart from money raised for the RNLI a multitude of other charities were represented at the event and they will benefit from considerable support also. One of these groups was Calmer Therapy who support children with additional needs and are based at Guidepost. Donna Swan from the group said 'we are having a brilliant day here and hope to raise some extra money for our services thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Part of our efforts today are with 'Dressed for the Prom' a community group that provides free outfits for young people attending special events.'
Another group raising funds was the Butokokan Judo Club.Butokokan Judo is a family based judo club, ran by a father, Michael Douglass, and two sons, Glen Douglass and Andrew Douglass, as well as a family friend, Steve Smith in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea and Ashington. Together, we teach the art of Judo to students, aged 5 onwards, including senior students. Butokokan Judo was founded on 18th June 2011, and have now seen 7 years of success, with many more to come.
Andrew Douglass from the club said ' thanks for Newbiggin RNLI in organising this fantastic event and our supporters where we will be raising funds for our judo group at the Sports Centre here in Newbiggin.
Lisa Secombe from Cancer Research and her team of volunteers are also taking part. Lisa said' we have raised over £51,000 and this event will be a preamble to next years programme including the Northumberland Relay for Life and Women v Cancer Cycle Costa Rica with this team building event today leading to next years 250mile cycle ride in Costa Rica.
Almost 200 dippers took part at around 11.00am as they sprinted into the chilly sea watched by hundreds of spectators on the beach and promenade. After a short time in the sea the dippers all eventually retreated and reflected on their successes.
For more information please telephone Richard Martin, RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer Newbiggin on 07980 010544 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Nicola Quinn Regional Media Manager – North East & East telephone 07810 658 072
email email@example.com or contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789
If you would like to find out more about Newbiggin lifeboat station, its volunteers and its heritage then take a look at the local websites.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.