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SCORES of Christmas Day swimmers turned up to Brighton beach to take part in the annual Christmas swim – despite the best efforts of the council.
Around 100 people gathered at the seafront to watch those bold enough take a dip in the sea, with swimmers braving sea temperatures of seven degrees Celsius.
Traditionally, the swim takes place at the area of sea nearest the Palace Pier, however this was cordoned off on Monday following safety concerns from Brighton and Hove City Council who had warned people to ‘keep friends, family and pets will away from the shoreline’.
But that did not stop determined Christmas swimmers, who sported bikinis, swimming shorts and Santa costumes, from entering the sea – with some followed by their dogs, and a man even stopping to take a photograph in the shallows of his feat.
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “There is no official Christmas Day swim in Brighton & Hove, although traditionally members of the local sea swimming club like to take a dip on Christmas morning.
“Sea temperature, strong currents and the steep shingle beach make sea swimming at this time of year particularly dangerous, especially if people have been drinking.
“As a result, our seafront officers will be discouraging people from swimming on Christmas Day by closing the section of the beach nearest the Palace Pier.”
Members of Brighton Swimming Club – who historically ran the annual Christmas Day swim almost every year from its conception in 1860 – told The Argus earlier in the week that they would not be taking part in the swim this year due to “dangerous” conditions.
They said that people swimming in the sea, even for a short period of time, put themselves at risk of developing hypothermia as body temperature can drop by as much as two degrees in the cold sea temperatures observed during winter.
Brighton’s Swim UK also snubbed the Christmas Day swim in favour of an organised festive swim earlier in the week.
On December 23, 20 ‘pool to pier’ swimmers from Swim UK took part in a dip wearing wetsuits to properly prepare them for the cool temperatures.
A day prior to this, four employees at Lawton and Dawe Properties took part in a Christmas-themed swim for charity by the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove, raising £1,033 for local poverty charity Off the Fence.
Source: The Argus