Christmas swims boosted by mild weather

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Media captionSwimmers run into the sea near Cromer Pier

The mild weather is believed to have contributed to a big turnout for festive swims around the East Coast.

About 300 people braved the North Sea at Cromer Pier earlier, with thousands looking on from the promenade.

"I think it could well have been a record year, with more spectators than ever before, too," said organiser Clive Hedges.

Christmas Day swims were also held at Lowestoft and Felixstowe in Suffolk, Clacton, Essex and Hunstanton, Norfolk.

Mike Rodwell, who took part in the Clacton swim, said the North Sea was an "unusually warm" 10C for Friday's dip.

Image copyright Clive Hedges
Image caption Record numbers are believed to have braved the sea - and the promenade - for Cromer's Boxing Day swim
Image copyright Clive Hedges
Image caption The Cromer swim is organised by North Norfolk Beach Runners

"A crowd of over 500 watched well over 100 hardy souls," he added.

The annual event in Cromer has taken place in the seaside town since 1985 when it was originally organised as "a bit of a dare" and is now a much anticipated tradition in the seaside town.

Air temperatures were below zero in 2014, but were a comparatively balmy 15C on Saturday.

Mr Hedges added: "The event has grown in popularity but the mild weather helped.

"I can assure you the sea was as cold as ever though."

He said he hoped the event raised about £2,000 for Mesothelioma UK, an asbestos-related cancer charity, in memory of runner Alec Fraser, who died last year.

Image caption Some of the Christmas Day swimmers in Lowestoft wore fancy dress
Image copyright Mike Rodwell
Image caption More than 100 braved the sea at Clacton on Christmas Day
Image copyright Mike Rodwell
Image caption Mike Rodwell said the sea temperature at Clacton was 10C

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