On a sunny morning with silvery calm sea, Budleigh is hard to beat, says the Society on its website and as far as I was concerned conditions couldn't have been better on Christmas Day, with a brilliant blue sky and radiant sunshine helping to make some good photos. The sea temperature of 10 degrees wouldn't suit everyone, and I was quite glad to have the excuse that I'd just come out of hospital. But maybe next year...
Supporting the RNLI at the event was Gilly Jones from Budleigh. She's been fund-raising for the RNLI for two years, and I hope that she left with a full model life-boat: there must have been 1,000 spectators and 100 swimmers there, she thought. I explained why I wouldn't be going in the water and she explained that she couldn't because of collecting. So her husband Russell had been the one who'd be taking the plunge, his first time. For information about the RNLI see http://www.rnli.org.uk/uk/
It could just have been a lovely sunny summer's day as they all splashed happily in the waves, but the Santa hats are a giveaway.
It's "very bracing" says Larry. And this event was clearly just a warm-up for him. "If you think this Budleigh swim is big, come to Exmouth. There'll be three to four thousand people watching and a thousand in the water."
And first-timer Russell Jones' verdict after his little dip? "Fantastic", "exhilarating" he said. But he did admit that the après-splash swig from his mini bottle of sloe gin might have helped.
It sounded fun. Yes, maybe next year...