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Christmas swimmers earn their dinner

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: December 28, 2009

  • Hundreds of people take the plunge on Christmas Day at Exmouth to raise money for local charities

  • Crowds take to the sea for Exmouth's annual festive swim

  • First-time bather Holly Smith feeling the cold

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RECORD numbers of hardy souls braved icy waters on Christmas Day for a festive dip.

Hundreds of swimmers plunged into the sea at Exmouth, East Devon, despite temperatures being at near freezing.

Many of the revellers were in fancy dress for the event, which has been taking place for more than half a century.

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The sun shone for the swimmers as they took to the water at 11am.

Among those taking the plunge was Nigel Snowshall and his 13-year-old daughter Emily, from Exmouth.

The duo were following a long family tradition of Christmas Day swims.

Mr Snowshall, a firefighter, has been taking part in the festive dip for 36 years. He said: "I followed my father's footsteps by taking part in the Christmas Day swim.

"Our family must be among the oldest participants of this event and my daughter, Emily, who attends Exmouth Community College, is joining in."

Mr Snowshall also mixed pleasure with business as he headed-up the volunteers who make up Exmouth Beach Rescue – who were on hand at the event. Many of the rescue team took part in the swim as well as providing safety cover.

Plymouth University student Amy Collins, 21, was home for the Christmas break.

She said: "I haven't done this before, but we thought, seeing as it's sunny, we'd come down.

"I wanted to do it in a wetsuit but my boyfriend told me that wasn't in the spirit of it. I'm freezing now."

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