Festive swimmers raise money for charity

COURAGEOUS swimmers braved the chilly waters of the North Sea in Felixstowe this Christmas.They swapped turkeys for trunks and crackers for swimming costumes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to raise money for charities including children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SAFFA), and Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice.

COURAGEOUS swimmers braved the chilly waters of the North Sea in Felixstowe this Christmas.

They swapped turkeys for trunks and crackers for swimming costumes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to raise money for charities including children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SAFFA), and Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice.

Yesterday seven plucky bathers enjoyed a blessing from Waldringfield vicar John Waller before rushing into the waves.

Youngest to swim was 12-year-old Georgina Rumsey, of Ipswich .

Miss Rumsey said: “My grandparents have a beach hut here and I wanted to show them I could do it.”

Organiser John Rivett said he was raising money for SAFFA.

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He added: “You might think we are a bit mad but its all for charity.”

On Christmas Day 20 swimmers took a dip.

Speaking before the event organiser, Peter Birt, 42, a coastguard rescue officer of Grange Road, Felixstowe, said: “We managed to raise £600 last year and there were six of us. We hope to do a lot better this year.”

This year he approached the hospice to try and get more people involved and raise more money.

The event was also in memory of Joyce Fryer who supported the brave swimmers last year but died the following day.

Mr Birt added: “Joyce was the life and soul of the party and a real treasure.”

Her son, Chris Fryer, 48, of Ullswater Avenue, Felixstowe, took part in this year's dip.

He said: “Peter convinced me to do it about two months ago. I'm dreading it.

“I plan to spend as little time in the water as possible. I'll be in and out straight away.”

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