Mild weather attracts surge of Boxing Day swimmers to Swanage

An impressive turnout for the Swanage Boxing Day Swim organised by the mental health and wellbeing charity #Willdoes, saw many brave souls taking the plunge in Swanage Bay in Dorset.

Counting down to 11 am on Tuesday 26th December 2023, many wearing bikinis, Speedos and festive fancy dress, enthusiastically ran into the sea as many more watched from the beach.

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Andy Lyons

As busy as a summer’s day in Swanage Bay – the crowds brave the December sea temperatures!

One of the biggest crowds

Helped by the continuing mild weather and with the rain staying away, the traditional Boxing Day event attracted one of the biggest crowds in recent times.

While bringing a lot of joy and fun was part of the aim of the organisers, the swim was also to raise money for the local charity #Willdoes.

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

Plenty of fun festive fancy dress

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

Embracing the Boxing Day challenge!

“Good for the town and good for the charity”

Lesley Paddy who founded the charity in memory of her son Will, said:

“It’s great to see so many people coming along and enjoying themselves – it’s good for the town and good for the charity. Swanage is really buzzing!

“Thank you to everyone who joined in the swim, those who cheered on friends and family from the shoreline, those who helped with the event and to Land and Wave who kept us all safe in the sea. It all goes to show what we can achieve together as a community.

“There’s a large group of us now who regularly go for an early morning dip – about a 100 in our sea swimming group. It’s really beneficial in so many ways and especially for our mental health, so it’s good that so many people joined in today!”

Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Collecting for the charity #Willdoes and taking the plunge

Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Happy to bear the chill of the sea

Benefitting young people and their mental wellbeing

#Willdoes is dedicated to the memory of William Paddy, who grew up near Swanage. The charity aims to help young people who may be finding life tough and struggling to cope with daily life.

Funds raised contribute to charitable projects that benefit young people in Dorset and the surrounding areas.

One of its projects, launched in February 2022, was the #Willdoes bus, which was refurbished as a mobile community space and can travel to rural communities across Dorset.

It offers youngsters a safe and warm space to meet with each other as well as the chance to talk to youth workers, counsellors and medical professionals.

Willdoes bus at Boxing Day Swim 2023

The #Willdoes bus parked on Shore Road and a raffle to raise extra funds

Dog at Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Hoping for a treat!

Watch the view from the air by Andy Lyons

Watch the view from the beach

Further information

  • Donations for the Swanage Boxing Day Swim can be made to the charity #Willdoes online
  • More of Andy Lyons photography
  • See Milly Haines pictures on her Coastlines and Pines Instagram
  • Timothy Crabb founded the Swanage and Purbeck Photography Group on Facebook

More photos

Boxing day swim 2023

And they’re off…

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

Ladies who float!

Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Swanage Pier makes a great backdrop

Getting in and staying in

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

Nothing unusual to see here!

Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Wrapping up Christmas in Swanage

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

A gift of a photo

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

We’re all perfectly normal in Swanage!

Boxing Day swim 23
Milly Haines

Outdoor company Land and Wave provided the lifeguards

Elf at Boxing Day Swim 2023
Timothy Crabb

Elf and safety at all times near water!

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