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 £1075 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.
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 few minutes in the sea the dippers all eventually retreated and reflected on their successes.