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Felixstowe: Chilly Christmas Day Dip is most successful ever

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 December 2012 | UPDATED: 09:22 27 December 2012

FESTIVE DIPPERS: Hundreds of hardy swimmers braved the cold and took part in the Felixstowe Christmas Day Dip in aid of the St Elizabeth Hospice.

FESTIVE DIPPERS: Hundreds of hardy swimmers braved the cold and took part in the Felixstowe Christmas Day Dip in aid of the St Elizabeth Hospice.

Archant

WATCHED by his proud grandma, one teenager got his Christmas celebrations off to a chilly start, wading into the sea at Felixstowe to help raise more than £40,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice.

Thirteen-year-old Thomas Boyt, of Shotley Close, was one of more than 500 hardy swimmers who plunged into the icy North Sea on Christmas Day – making this year’s dip the most successful ever.

The Felixstowe Academy student was inspired to take part by his grandmother, Pat Cornforth, 66, who overcame non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009.

Mum Louise, who watched from the warmth of the beach, said her son had “really enjoyed” the swim.

“It was a bit chilly but he really enjoyed taking part. His nan was there to watch too, we were all so proud of him.”

Meanwhile, for one couple, a three-letter word proved the perfect Christmas present.

Dropping on to one knee, Alex Cable proposed to his girlfriend Sadie Wooltorton, in front of the throng of brave swimmers moments before they all rushed into the water.

Mr Cable, 27, a self-employed builder and bricklayer, said: “Sadie had said to do something that she’d like and I thought this seemed like a good idea.

“I was quite nervous beforehand. I couldn’t be happier that she said ‘yes’.”

Miss Wooltorton, 24, who works in admin for social services, added: “It was a complete surprise. The best Christmas present I could have hoped for.”

Speaking at the event, organiser Emily Sullivan said: “We are hugely thankful to everybody who took part today and helped make this year’s Christmas Day dip the most successful ever.

“There’s been a fantastic atmosphere all morning, with everybody really getting into the spirit of the event and enjoying themselves.

“Raising over £40,000 will be a huge help in allowing us to continue growing local hospice care, and we’d like to thank everybody who has sponsored our brave dippers for their generous support.”

This year’s SPILL Festival of Performance will begin with the world premiere of Clarion Call, a co-commission between Ipswich arts charity the Pacitti Company and 14-18 NOW, which was behind the Tower of London poppies project.

Building the Orwell Bridge was only one of three options considered when an Ipswich by-pass was first seriously considered in the 1970s, the former chief executive of Suffolk County Council has revealed.

Building the Orwell Bridge was only one of three options considered when an Ipswich by-pass was first seriously considered in the 1970s, the former chief executive of Suffolk County Council has revealed.

A “smash” was heard moments before a car was set alight in a suspected arson attack in Ipswich last night.

This is the last week that market traders will operate from Ipswich’s Cornhill for at least a year as work to rebuild the town centre is due to start.

Drivers are being warned they could face delays as roadworks begin at one of Ipswich’s busiest junctions this morning.

Witham MP Priti Patel faced questions over the prospect of a possible Cabinet return this morning in her first broadcast interview since quitting over her secret meetings with senior Israeli figures last year.

The government has still not agreed a deal to end its £50m commitment for the regional fire control “white elephant” in Cambridgeshire – nearly two years after negotiations started.

A police helicopter was involved in a search which continues this morning for a motorist involved in a single-vehicle crash in Suffolk last night.

James Blunt and Plan B have joined this year’s Newmarket Nights line-up.

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