Boxing Day Swim 2000

All those participating in NSVL's third annual Boxing Day Swim must have got rather a big shock when they woke up on the morning of the big event to find that Whitley Bay was covered in snow. Not only that, but it was still snowing quite heavily...great conditions, then, to be going for a swim in the North Sea!

Along to the Beach Base and by the time we all got out onto the Promenade in our swimwear and Jesters' hats (including the Mayoress of North Tyneside) there was quite a big crowd gathered. The air temperature registering at 1°C and the water temperature at 7.5°C, it was going to be quite chilly out there - not to mention the fact that it was still snowing. Joe informed everyone that we were all mad and, with the Mayoress in tow, we headed off down to the sea.

And so it started - the battle of wills with the crowd on the beach. Some people braved the water for a few minutes. Others stayed in for ten. Some up to fifteen. By this point the crowd were starting to get bored, and cold. Not so for the people still in the water who had a great time in the waves. By fifteen minutes there were only four people left. Joe and Kevin Welsh, Steve Poulton and Geoff Wade. The four were going to go in after fifteen, but decided to stick it out to twenty. When twenty was reached, well, they thought they might as well go for twenty-five - after all Kevin was being sponsored by the minute, and he particularly wanted to get as much money as possible from a stingy person who'd only sponsored him 10p a minute.

After twenty-five minutes the four got out of the water to a greatly reduced crowd and, after warming up, it was time for the presentation of the signed certificates of insanity by Joe. First to receive the certificate was the Mayoress, who had raised around £300 from the venture for her chosen charity.

After the certificates it was off to the Avenue to warm up properly where, on the TV, we got to see the Sunderland swimmers stealing our thunder. There may have been a thousand of them, but it wasn't snowing there and they didn't stay in half as long as we did!

However, we remain resolute and, despite the 'never agains', the Boxing Day Swim looks set to continue...


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