Fundraising idea: Boxing Day Dip

Young Heroes are looking for brave individuals and groups to take part in the traditional 2010 Seaburn Boxing Day Dip.

The invigorating swim organised by the Sunderland Lions Club, promises to be the largest and most successful in its 35 year history.  Originating in 1974 the dip is one of the oldest events in the country and possibly the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

Every year thousands of hardy souls, many in fancy dress, parade down Seaburn Promenade in front of 5,000 cheering spectators before plunging into the North Sea to raise money for charity.  Last year the event pulled in a staggering £50,000 for charities up and down the country.

Impact Livings’ Donna Binyon and pals braved it last year for Young Heroes and have pledged to do it all over again for 2010; this time with even more friends, even funnier fancy dress and to raise even more money!

“I’ve done the Boxing Day Dip for 3 years running” says Donna, “each time it has been a really fun experience, nerve-racking but worth it”.

Speaking about the day Donna says “On the early morning of Boxing Day, I wake up and start to get ready in my fancy dress costume, feeling very nervous knowing that in a couple of hours I’ll be running into an icy sea with hundreds of other people, nervous in case I lose the ‘bottle’ to do it.

Usually our group arrange to meet at the pub we all worked in, when we first see each other as a group in our costumes it makes us laugh so much you forget about the nerves a bit and begin to feel a bit more excited. We take a few pictures and Neighbours around our local area who are out and about visiting families pass us by as we wait for a lift to the Seaburn Centre;  they wish us luck as well as saying stuff like ‘rather you than me’ and ‘you’re crazy’ but mostly positive stuff.

It all makes it feel a bit surreal as it’s not something you would normally do on a winter morning…prepare to willingly run into the freezing sea dressed as a Flintstone or whatever crazy costume idea we have thought up. (The whole process weeks before the dip is fun too, thinking of the best costume theme that could win us a first prize for best outfit, as well as telling everyone what we are going to do and what for, trying to raise as much money as possible for a good cause).

Once we arrive at the Seaburn Centre with hundreds of others, signing in and getting ready quickly, there’s lots of hustle and bustle as everyone prepares then we are asked to line up to start the parade for the judges to choose best costume. This is the build up as we look around and laugh at each other’s costumes, each year the ideas get better and better and the effort put into costumes is outstanding.

Hype builds as we all begin to exit the doors and out onto the road where crowds waiting cheer and clap, pointing to people they might recognise or to the greatest costumes. We carry on parading looking down onto the promenade at those ahead of us, being soaked with the hose pipes to prepare for the shock of the iciness, then running down the sand and into the sea, with the crowds and media also down on the beach cheering on and taking pictures ready for the papers the next day.

As we slip and slide on the frozen road, parading down toward the firemen with their hose pipes, ‘butterflies’ set in and a sense of adrenaline once you feel the freezing water spray you, then you just run!

There aren’t any words to describe how cold it is and how much of an adrenaline rush you get but physically, your legs feel literally like jelly once they are covered, there are braver people who go right out into the waves and swim about. There are numbers of people running toward you splashing about, shouting and laughing, taking deep breaths with shock, (like you do when you try to get in a hot bath ironically).

You can stay however long you like in the water but once you decide to walk back up to the centre, it feels like the longest walk ever, shoes squelching, jelly legged and shivering as the cold breeze hits you. When you arrive back you are welcomed with a cup of hot chocolate or whatever takes your fancy and urged to change into warm clothes as quick as possible. Once you are all warmed up, and while others begin to arrive back, you can mingle, talking to the others with your hot drink and a mince pie.

The after feeling is lovely, because it’s Christmas and hundreds have joined together for this phenomenal event that has taken place for years, all for the same reason, which is to raise money and awareness for the various causes. It feels heart-warming as well as big sense of achievement. I would recommend it to anyone, as traumatic as it might sound, just for the after feeling and to raise money for Impact Young Heroes”.

For those of you who wish to join Donna, be under no illusion, its going to be cold…..freezing cold (with sea temperatures around 4°C) but with such an electric and festive atmosphere,  and warm drinks and mince pies to look forward to afterwards, it’s a day you won’t forget.

If you wish to put your name down or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact me or you can call the organisers direct on 0191 522 5305.

Posted in Fundraising Ideas.