HARDY swimmers braved the chilly waters of the North Sea as they took part in a charity swim on New Year’s Day.

The event was organised by Harwich residents to help the North Essex Support Team (NEST).

Harwich councillor Geoff Smith is a trustee of NEST which supports families in need in the area.

The swim started from Harwich Sailing Club with the oldest participant being the High Steward, Chris Strachan who is 82 and the youngest swimmers were Audrey Scarfe and Isobel Hayes who are both 11 years old.

On the morning of the swim, £145 was raised for NEST and another £145 was raised for the Harwich Time and Tide Bell.

Mr Smith said: “Along with the 40- odd people, there was a big crowd who watched and supported us. The event lasts about ten to 15 minutes before the people at the sailing club call you in.

“After the swim we all gathered to have some mulled wine and overall, I’d say it was a successful day.”

Mr Smith added: “It was great seeing one of the ladies’ groups on the day, about eight of them turned up. They swam throughout the year and I really appreciated their support.

“I think dips will become more common as over the years, I’ve seen a lot more people going into the water, even during cold weather.”

Donations can still be made via bit.ly/33WY6La and bit.ly/3Eyg8jr.