By Rebecca Hannant
A total of 350 people braved the cold North Sea on New Year’s Day to take part in Hornsea Inshore Rescue’s annual sponsored New Year’s Day fun swim – breaking last year’s record by 83.
Among the participants were the Hornsea Mermaids, a group dressed as red lobsters, and many more in fancy dress.
About 3,500 spectators enjoyed the fun as the swimmers paraded down to the sea’s edge at noon, led by a Scottish piper, after having had a safety briefing and pep talk from Hornsea Inshore Rescue’s chairman and operations manager Sue Hickson-Marsay, who had just made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.
Many of the participants opted for a quick splash and return to dry land, whereas others, especially the Hornsea Mermaids, went in for a genuine swim, some staying in for 15 minutes or more. This was the first time the swim had taken place at high tide and some of the swimmers made entering the sea most entertaining by being swept up in the air by the breakers at the sea’s edge.
The event was watched over by the lifeboat crew who formed a protective cordon around the swimmers and had the rescue jet ski on the water.
As usual, hot refreshments were available with hot dogs, teas, coffees and mulled wine. The Hornsea Inshore Lifeboat Supporters were also on hand with a fundraising tombola.
Leading coxswain Karl Shannon said: “The New Year’s Day swim was a huge success. The sun was shining, and thousands of spectators turned out to watch. I love the New Year’s Day dip – it is my favourite event by a long way. Everybody is always in such a great mood, and the atmosphere is brilliant.”