Exmouth's festive dip

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 December 2011

Exmouth swim 2010. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9171-52-10AW

Exmouth swim 2010. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 9171-52-10AW

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Scores of people are expected to descend upon Exmouth beach on Christmas Day to take part in the traditional festive swim

Exmouth’s Christmas Day swim’s popularity continues to soar. In recent years, it has had several Facebook pages dedicated to the event – and now a Christmas card.

Swim founder Ken Cunnigham, of Littelham, was delighted this year to receive a ‘Where’s Wally’-style card, by Exe artist Lorna Porter, showing the scene on the beach when hundreds of festive swimmers plunge into the icy water on Christmas morning cheered on by scores of well-wishers.

Ken said: “It was a nice surprise. This artist has done a painting. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

The 2011 Christmas swim starts at 11am from the beach below Exmouth’s clock tower.

In keeping with tradition, scores of swimmers are expected to turn out for the event – some wearing fancy dress – to dash down the beach before braving the December water temperatures.

Ken said to those intending to take part: “I will see you on the beach.”

For die-hard Christmas swimmers, Budleigh Salterton is holding its own event, starting at 10am from the bottom of Steamers Steps.

The event is run an hour earlier, to give people chance to head to the neighbouring town to take part in both swims.

Footwear is advised because of the run down the pebbles.

Exmouth’s Christmas day swim started life in the late 1960s with just six swimmers when keen sportsman Ken decided to take a dip on Christmas morning and invited his friends, Peter Horne, Stan Jordan, Nick Hockings, David Hart and Miss Ireland, to join him.

Since then, it has grown in popularity and attracted swimmers from across the globe.

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