A FESTIVE fundraising tradition on the Northumberland coastline has been saved from extinction after a determined local businessman dived in to ensure it survives.
The annual Boxing Day dip in the freezing North Sea at Newbiggin-by- the-Sea has raised more than £100,000 for charities and good causes since it was launched almost 30 years ago.
The popular event looked certain to come to an end following the recent decision to fold the Ashington Lions Club – which has organised it since 1983 – because of dwindling membership.
Now the dip is back on and set to stay as a regular date in the calendar after Dennis Inglis, who runs The Old Ship pub on Newbiggin promenade with his partner Jackie Smith, stepped in to rescue it.
Dennis has enlisted help and support from the local RNLI lifeboat station, the town’s sailing club and local volunteers to make sure the dip goes ahead as usual at 10.30am on Boxing Day.
It will raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, a charity which Dennis and Jackie regularly support. His daughter Suzanne, 14, from a previous relationship, had open-heart surgery at the Freeman when she was a baby.
Customers at the pub raise funds for CHUF every year by taking part in the dip, so Dennis decided to keep the event going on behalf of his favourite charity, and others.