Twin sisters brave sea at Felixstowe for charity birthday dip

Jemma and Janine at Felixstowe

Twin sisters Jemma and Janine emerge from the water after their dip at Felixstowe - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Identical twins Jemma Whitman and Jannine Rushby were looking for something special to mark their 40th birthday - and ended up raising thousands of pounds for one of Felixstowe's best-known charities.

The sisters run The Turtle and The Bear sandwich shop opposite the Leisure Centre on Undercliff Road West and had hoped to raise £250 for the Felixstowe National Coastwatch Institution with an early-morning dip near the pier on Sunday.

Swimmers at Felixstowe

The swimmers enjoying their early-morning dip at Felixstowe. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

However after getting sponsorship from their neighbouring businesses and many customers the total they are set to raise has so far passed £2,000 - and pledges are still coming in.

The sisters wore fancy dress green onesies for the dip and were joined in the sea by many of their sponsors. They spent 10 minutes in the cold water before emerging and taking the chance to warm up again.

A good crowd of family members and friends joined them on the beach for the 8am swim although only a select few were brave enough to go into the sea.

Watching the swim from the shore

Many of their friends and family were happy to watch the swim from the shore. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Nick Barrett White, the branch secretary of NCI Felixstowe, said they were delighted and overjoyed by the success of the swim.

He said: "They told us they wanted to do something a bit different to mark their 40th and wanted to support a local charity - so chose us.

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"They had started off talking about raising a hundred or two, but once they'd got support from sponsors and set up a Just Giving page the money just started rolling in. We are so grateful."

Celebrating after the dip

The swimmers celebrated at the end of their dip. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The sisters said they had been overwhelmed by the response of friends, family and businesses in the Felixstowe area as they had seen their gift pledges rise: "This is so exciting we couldn’t be any happier with all the sponsors and support we have."

Swimmers at Felixstowe

Swimmers braved the cold water at Felixstowe as the sun rose on Sunday morning. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

And as the emerged from the sea, all those who took part in the dip said it actually felt colder coming into the air than it had been in the water - but they were all looking forward to warming up!

Anyone who wants to support the fund-raising effort can visit their Just Giving page to donate.

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