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Boxing Day 50 for 50 Challenge

December 28, 2011

By Julie Hatcher,  Marine Awareness Officer

Time was running out for me to do a 50 for 50 challenge for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s 50th Anniversary – December already.

9th December – had a bright idea after doing a steam room and cold-water plunge – a Boxing Day dip in the sea to raise money for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s 50 for 50 challenge. It seems somewhat appropriate for me.

14th December – gone public with my challenge –  £50 is probably unachievable given the short notice, credit crunch and rapidly approaching festivities. Might have to top it up myself…….

15th December – good response to sponsorship request and already way-exceeded the £50 target – no getting out of it now!  Unexpectedly the weather has turned decidedly nippy!

21st December – trip to Boscombe beach – weather very mild, sea calm, even a bit of watery sunshine.  Hope it stays like this…………

Christmas Day – Steve, my camera-man, has started preparing cameras. I feel justified in stuffing myself with as many chocolates, crisps, roast spuds, mince pies, cheese and crackers and fizzy pop as is humanly possible. As any marine biologist knows, a good layer of blubber has its benefits.

The Big Day! Actually feeling quite calm and looking forward to my dip (could I still be under the influence of Christmas Day alcohol?).  Got into my cossie with hot flask, hat, scarf and puffer jacket at the ready.  Well, this is it, cameras are rolling as I run down the beach through the biting wind towards the (rather large) breaking waves……………………………`

Boxing Day swim

Running eagerly into the water

Well the waves don’t look very large in this photo but watch the video if you don’t believe me!

To share my experience click on the link

Running in and out of the sea was fun but swimming was a challenge in the swell – shoulder deep one second and knee deep the next.  Why do the waves always look small from the beach but huge as they break over your head?

After about 5 minutes (or 2 minutes in real time) I felt I’d done my duty. Challenge over……………….. or was it? The cameras had not been running. I had to do it all over again!

Take 2 - my second dip

The cold shock wasn't so bad second time around.

Take 2! The second swim wasn’t so bad. The cold didn’t take my breath away this time and my body was already numb. More waves over the head, a couple of poor attempts at swimming and a bit of body surfing back towards the beach. Surely that was it now? My heart sank as Steve looked doubtfully at the camera …..but then, Yes, thankfully it HAD worked.

boxing day swim over.

Swim over and still smiling!

Challenge over, I headed for a warm camper van and hot flask of tea.  A few hours later I was feeling glowing and invigorated. I want to do it again. New Years Day? Anyone up for it?

warming up

Warmed up and invigorated.

Thank you very much to all my sponsors – I was overwhelmed by the response at such short notice.  At last count the money raised was over £300 which certainly helped give me a warm feeling inside (even if I was a bit cold on the outside!).  You can still donate at

Best wishes, 


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane Mortimer permalink
    December 30, 2011 4:15 pm

    Well done Julie. Very impressive. What are you doing in 2012?

  2. January 4, 2012 12:46 pm

    Fantastic effort Julie. Well done! I thought you would at least have a wet suit on – I’m really impressed!

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