For the last 35 years, Lowestoft beach on Christmas Day has been overrun with swimmers dressed in festive ensembles plunging into the freezing cold waters. However, the annual dip has been cancelled for the foreseeable future after the organisers were forced to pull out because of work commitments.
The Lowestoft Christmas Day Charity Swim was first established by Bruce Wayman over three decades ago to raise money for local causes, and is estimated to have raised over £150,000 for charities in the area. Each year has seen hundreds of people bound into the icy seas dressed in an array of bizarre outfits.
However, current organisers Lawrence Chapman and Mark Attenburrow this week announced new work commitments mean they are no longer able to run the swim, and they have been unable to find someone else to take over the reigns.
In a joint statement, they said: “We have been talking with various organisations about them taking the Swim on. We hoped to be able to run this years swim jointly before the new organisation taking it on in future years, but this week everyone has pulled out.”
“It is very very sad and not a decision we have taken lightly. As organisers there is quite a bit of preparation and then we are on the beach by 7am on Christmas morning and we don't get back to families until about 1pm. We have been pleased to do this, but now enough is enough.
"We have left this difficult announcement as late as possible in the hope that we would find a solution, but there is nothing forth coming.”
The future of the event was also put into jeopardy in 2002 when insurers wanted £1,500 to cover the event, but was saved when a new firm stepped in and allowed it to continue.
For those desperate for a festive swim, the Rotary Club of Southwold and District’s annual festive swim will still go-ahead as planned next month.