PHOTOS and VIDEO: Hundreds plunge into chilly sea at Budleigh Christmas Day swim 2019

A hardy bunch dashed down the pebbles into the sea at the Budeigh Salterton swim to kick-start their Christmas Day celebrations.

Festive hats galore were worn by swimmers and onlookers as hundreds ran into the chilly December sea.

Well-wishers stood at the top of Steamer Steps to applaud and cheer on the swimmers who braved the winter water.

Budleigh’s mayor, Councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt, and her husband Glenn, were among the festive hat wearers cheering on the Christmas Day swimmers.

Screams and shouts of shock could be heard as the swimmers were hit by the freezing winter water.

The Budleigh swim starts at 10am, an hour earlier than Exmouth’s 11am dash into the sea, so extra-keen swimmers can take part in both events.

Twice-English Channel swimmer Larry Morris founded Budleigh Salterton’s Christmas swim.

Budleigh’s mayor, Councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt with her husband, Glenn.

In neighbouring Exmouth, father of the swim – Ken Cunningham, a founder member who started the Exmouth Christmas Day dip with five friends in the 1960s, who still takes part each year – was given a round of applause as he addressed the hardy crowd before they plunged into a chilly sea.

The Exmouth Christmas Day swim started around 50 years ago, in the late 1960s, when Ken invited five friends – Peter Horne, Stan Jordan, Nick Hockings, David Hart and Miss Ireland – to meet on the beach near the clocktower.

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