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Home Thanet News Article
Wind and rain were no match for the goodwill and determination of New Year’s Day dippers at Broadstairs, who this year raised a record amount of money for charity.
The Viking Bay plunge into the chilly briny took place for the 13th time despite earlier concerns it would have to be cancelled due to the weather.
About 50 people braved daunting waves and took to the sea. They are expected to have raised more than £7,000 for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
They were cheered on from the beach by hundreds of hardy supporters as Broadstairs Surf Lifesaving Club monitored the safety of participants.
An exceptional sum of around £5,000 has been raised alone by intrepid swimmer Richard Keel, a regular at the Neptunes Hall pub in Broadstairs, whose landlady Jill Connell organises the swim.
The tradition was started when her husband Ken took to the sea on his own, in thanks for the life of their daughter Lily who was saved by a liver transplant as a baby.
Ken and son Jake were both among the swimmers this year, warmed afterwards with some piping hot chilli served up at Neptune Hall.
Mrs Connell said: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part, the swimmers, the crowds that turned out, the lifeguards and all those who have donated. We didn’t think the dip would be able to go ahead this year because the weather was so bad, but those who took part just did not go out very far. It was more of an ‘in and out’.”
Neptune Hall has raised tens of thousands of pounds for CLDF, with regular events throughout the year.
The next one is Burns Night on Saturday, January 25, from 8pm. The haggis will be piped in at about 9pm in by a piper in kilt and full regalia and there will be traditional Scottish fare of haggis, neeps, tatties, washed down by a wee dram.
Food and entertainment, including a pianist and poetry recitals, will be free with a collection taken for the charity.
For a full report and more pictures on this and other festive dips in the sea off Thanet for charity, see next week's Thanet Extra.
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