Do you fancy a dip . . ?

Boxing Day Dip 2009''w095301v
Boxing Day Dip 2009''w095301v
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A HIDEOUS fancy dress outfit and a paddle in an ice-cold North Sea with a hangover - what better way to spend your Boxing Day.

But for over 40 years this has been tradition for people in Whitby and the hundreds of people that line the piers to watch.

Yes, it is that time of year again where preparations are being made for the annual Boxing Day dip where punters willingly run into the sea in aid of local charities and good causes.

It is being organised by the Whitby Lions who started the tradition when the group formed.

But this year the Lions are down on numbers of people registering and fundraising secretary Chris Harrison puts it down to the economic climate.

Normally around 150 people sign up and collect sponsorship money with 80 per cent going to a charity or cause they are backing and 20 per cent goes to the Lions who distribute the funds to the groups they support.

Mr Harrison told the Gazette: “People always come in at the last minute but there are fewer this time.

“Folks are finding it harder to ask for money and sponsorships. Times are hard, we are finding when we have events we are not making as much money but everybody is saying the same.”

In years gone by the Boxing Day dip used to raise £10,000 but he added “if it makes a couple of grand we will be happy, it is a sign of the times.”

Despite the drop in numbers the Boxing Day dip still attracts followers from the age of seven and 70.

“The oldest person was Avril Mortimer, she went in last year and is about 75, she has been going in for as long as I can remember.

“There are some real young ones going in but you have to be a little bit careful - it is the North Sea after all.”

People wanting to take part in the Boxing Day Dip can register at Universal Garage in Station Square, Whitby and at the Seacliffe Hotel on the West Cliff.

On the day it is check in and change at 10am, fancy dress judging at 10.30am and everyone in at 10.40am.