RNLI West Mersea cancels popular annual fundraiser

Lifeboats News Release

Volunteers at West Mersea Lifeboat Station and Mersea and District Lifeboat Guild have made the difficult decision to cancel this years annual Boxing Day Dip.

RNLI/Chris Lewis-Garnham

Dip poster with QR code

The increasingly popular event in which participants brave the cold sea for a ‘dip’, has sadly had to be cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Like so many other events in 2020, current restrictions have meant that the event would not have been able to be COVID secure due to the event having so many people together. With the Colchester area joining the rest of Essex, entering into Tier 4 from midnight on Boxing Day, it would also be against the guidelines to hold such an event.

The annual Boxing Day Dip was started in 2006 and has become one the biggest events in the RNLI calender on the island. Last year saw a record 147 participants enter and hundreds more spectating and cheering them on.

Although last year's poor weather almost delayed the start, the conditions brightened up and the event raised over £3000 and has, through the years, raised over £40000 in total.

This year has seen expenditure increase across the RNLI network, due to the increase in PPE purchased. The Mersea and District Lifeboat Guild has created a JustGiving page for people to be able to donate safely and securely.

'RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer, Chris Lewis-Garnham said: ‘RNLI West Mersea is the very definition of the 'One Crew' vision. Everyone who gives their time to the station in whatever capacity, always join together and turn out for the Boxing Day Dip and we also usually have our neighbouring station, RNLI Clacton-on-Sea, coming to join in the fun too and, of course, Stormy Stan and Santa also popping by.

Like many other organisations and more importantly families, we have been unable to see each other in real life this year and with the event not being able to be held, we are all devastated to miss our annual tradition. The event normally is one of our biggest fundraising activities and the loss of income from the event not being held will be felt into 2021.

We all know a lot of people give generously at the event, through sponsorship of the participants and through donations in the buckets. A lot of the locals bring the money they have been saving throughout the year and donate it on the day. This led to the Guild setting up the JustGiving page in the hope that people will donate just as generously online.’

The Just Giving page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rnli-westmersea or by using your mobile device and scanning the QR code.

The planning has already begun for 2021 and promises to be bigger and better than ever with details to be released in September 2021. Book the date in your diaries now, as entries are certainly going to go fast once the details are released.


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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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