Kieron Day: Broadstairs welcomes 2024 with annual New Year’s Day swim

The annual dip Photo Kieron Day

Kieron Day is a third year journalism student at Liverpool John Moores University. He lives in Broadstairs and attended the New Year’s Day dip today:

In a tradition running since 2002 that symbolises courage, resilience and a fresh start, residents and brave visitors of Broadstairs took the plunge into the chilly sea for the annual New Year’s Day Swim.

Despite the crisp winter air, and cold sea, there was excitement and a sense of community as participants embraced the invigorating tradition to kick off 2024 with a splash.

The Broadstairs New Year’s Day swim, first started by Jill and Kenny Connell with four participants, has become a beloved event that draws crowds of hundreds from near and far. As the clock struck noon, participants gathered at Viking Bay, ready to welcome the new year with a refreshing dip in the sea.

Photo Kieron Day

Despite the brisk temperature of the water, the sense of camaraderie and shared excitement was palpable. Cheers and laughter echoed along the coastline as swimmers, some seasoned veterans, and others first-timers, embraced the chilly challenge with smiles on their faces.

The George Inn, the official sponsor for the event following Neptune’s Hall and The Dolphin in previous years, provided a warming curry for participants as well as entertainment with two live acts throughout the day.

Photo Kieron Day

The New Year’s Day swim not only serves as a memorable experience for participants but also raises funds for various charitable causes, primarily focusing on Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).

As founders of the event, Jill and Kenny Connell started the fundraiser after their daughter was born with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. She received a lifesaving liver transplant at the age of ten weeks and she’ll celebrate her 30th birthday this year.

Kenny said: “Normally we have one little corner of the bay, this year it’s gone all the way round.”

Photo Kieron Day

As the last waves settled and the participants wrapped themselves in warm towels, the Broadstairs New Year’s Day swim once again proved to be a heart-warming and invigorating start to the year and is “a fixture in the calendar now”  which has raised thousands of pounds for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and other charities.