Skinny dippers brave North Sea chill for Autumn Equinox charity swim at dawn

Hundreds of brave souls took to the freezing waters of the North Sea naked today to raise money for charity.

Around 600 lined up at Druridge Bay, Northumberland as the sun rose to "celebrate life".

Young and old alike donned hats, smiles but very little else to make a dash for the sea. Everyone taking part pays an
entry fee to MIND, The Mental Health Charity.

Since 2012, North East Skinny Dips have raised more than £30,000.

This year, organisers said those taking part were in the water "within hours of the exact moment the sun crossed the celestial equator".

Bathing costumes and shoes are allowed. But most take to the sea
completely naked.

Beth Collard, of Newcastle, said the experience "couldn’t have been better".

"Another beautiful dip," she tweeted.

Organisers said the event had its biggest ever turnout as 200 more people than last year ran into the waves.

Organiser Jax Higginson said: "It was absolutely massive. There were 200 more people than last year. It’s just spiralled."

She said: "I just want to express my eternal gratitude to everyone – the dippers, the volunteers, everyone.

"We’ve already raised £7,000 on the day, from donations and pledges and everything and there will be more to come."

Many of those who took part in the dip camped out before the run into the sea just before 7am.

Ms Higginson said they were concerned it would rain but, instead, were treated to a clear night and ideal conditions for a skinny dip.

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