The new partnership behind Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip has 40,000 reasons to celebrate.
Event founders Sunderland Lions Club joined forces with heart charity the Red Sky Foundation to bring the popular event back for the first time in three years.
Lions spokesperson Anne Fielding said club members had been pleased with how the event, which was based at Seaburn Stack for the first time, had gone: “It was very different, obviously – different location, different organisers – but it was very good,” she said.
“It had to change – there are only seven Lions left now and seven of us could not put something like that on.”
Numbers had been well up on the last Dip, held before the Covid pandemic: “We had 3-7 people in the water,” said Anne.
“We had 245 at the last one, so it is up – but I think we will take a long time to get back to the days of having 1,000 dippers.”
She was delighted that a collection among crowds on the promenade and beach had raised more than £1,100: “People have not got as much money in their pockets as they used to, so we are really grateful,” said Anne.
Red Sky founder Sergio Petrucci said around 350 people has actually registered for the dip and early figures showed they had raised an average of more than £100 each.
“That is £40,000 raised for charities across Sunderland and the region, which is phenomenal”, he said.
With their own team of around 70 volunteers taking part, the Lions and Red Sky Foundation alone had raised around £10,000, which would be decvided between the two organisations.
“We have to thank a lot of people – our volunteers, including the Cub Scouts; the city council; the Stack; Sunderland hospital radio and XL Medical, who provided our health cover. We couldn’t have done it without them.
“For me, the most important thing that we have done is to bring so many charities together to support each other.”
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