Stars Jade Thirlwall and Josef Craig join crowds for Boxing Day dip

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Hundreds of brave fundraisers donned fancy dress and raced into the freezing sea in two separate Boxing Day dips in South Shields.

This year crowds gathered at Sandhaven beach to take the plunge for cancer foundation Alex’s Angels, before a second dip was held at Little Haven beach for Cancer Connections, which saw Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall take part.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

The star, who was celebrating her 24th birthday, was joined by British Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig, 19, as they raced into the icy waters. The pair are both patrons of the charity.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Jade, who was dressed as a penguin.
“It was absolutely Baltic though.”

A long-term supporter of the charity, which is dedicated to serving individuals and families suffering from cancer, this year Jade took on the challenge in memory of her auntie Norma Embleton who passed away in October after battling pancreatic cancer.

On Christmas Eve Jade also visited Cancer Connections in Harton Lane to hand out gifts, sign autographs, and pose for pictures with children whose families have been affected by the disease.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

She said: “It’s lovely to be here - I do it every Christmas Eve.

“It’s nice to see all the kids and get to chat to everybody and take some pictures for Cancer Connections.

Josef, who dressed as an elf for the dip, said: “I really enjoy coming here and showing support for Cancer Connections.
“They have always helped me, so I have always helped them.
“I love coming down here and seeing everybody really happy after Christmas. 
“This event is something that is really special.”

Deborah Roberts, manager and co-founder of Cancer Connections, thanked all the organisations which gave their support to the event.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall joins Boxing Day dippers taking part in Cancer Connections dip at Little Haven, South Shields.

She added: “We are lucky to have two fantastic patrons like Jade and Josef.”

Meanwhile, over a hundred people, took part in a second dip to raise over £6,000 for the foundation which provides support for children with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

It was set up by Alex Turner, 16, following her battle with laryngeal cancer.

She said: “The support we have had has been amazing and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks

Alex's Angels Boxing day dippers take to the North Sea in South Shields, Tyne and Wear. Picture by Tom Banks