Boxing Day Dips: Heartwarming stories from those braving the bitterly cold North Sea

Hundreds dipped their toes in (at the very least) at Seaburn. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Scores of brave souls across the North East and North Yorkshire have taken festive Boxing Day dips in the North Sea.

Events have been held along the coastline from Berwick to Scarborough, with hundreds gathering at the likes of Redcar, Roker, Seaburn and Tynemouth.

Many take to the waves for the cold water's proven mental health benefits; others for tradition or simply for a laugh. No doubt some chuck on their trunks after losing a Christmas Day bet or perhaps to shake off the buck's fizz.

But many are taking part to raise money for charity.

  • The Seaburn event was particularly well-attended.

Among them are Amy Peirse and Carl Horner. They are raising money for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Our Hospitals charity after tragedy struck this summer.

On Sunday 17 July at 41 weeks pregnant, following a healthy pregnancy, the Redcar couple’s lives changed forever.

Amy, who is a beauty therapist, developed HELLP syndrome which is a rare life-threatening pregnancy complication.

HELLP occurs in less than 1% of all pregnancies and stands for haemolysis (H), elevated liver enzymes (EL), low platelet count (L).

Amy Peirse and Carl Horner with their friends and family on Redcar beach. Credit: South Tees Hospitals

Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was rushed into surgery at James Cook University Hospital for a caesarean section. Ada did not survive.

Once delivering Ada, surgeons worked to save Amy's life after her liver had haemorrhaged and then ruptured, resulting in her losing five litres of blood.

Amy then spent two weeks in an induced coma in which time her kidneys had failed and she was on continuous dialysis.

As nurses tried to bring her round to breathe unassisted, they discovered a bleed on her lung and she was rushed back into surgery and underwent a sternotomy.

In total Amy spent six weeks in hospital, had pneumonia and several chest drains to remove fluid from her lungs.

"I will be eternally grateful to the amazing team of surgeons, consultants and nursing staff from multiple departments within James Cook Hospital who have worked together to save my life,” Amy said.

"The scars I have will be a constant reminder of the worst time in our lives, however, none of this compares to the pain we feel from losing our beautiful daughter."

Amy hopes that by raising money for a new bereavement suite at James Cook she will in return help other families and raise awareness of HELLP syndrome.

Amy was given time to say goodbye to her baby. Credit: Family photo

She added: “We have taken some small comfort in finding a purpose following my tragic experience of HELLP syndrome and devastating loss of our daughter, we would like to give something back to help families during the hardest time of their lives.

"During my time in hospital my partner Carl along with our family could use the hospital’s existing maternity bereavement room - Billy’s Room to spend time with our daughter.

"Once well enough to leave the ward I also used Billy’s Room to spend valuable time with Ada and our family away from a hospital ward and in a more homely environment we were able to say our final goodbyes.

“We will be forever grateful for this along with the support we received from the maternity and bereavement teams, so it goes without saying we want to do anything we can to give back to this cause which is very close to our hearts.”

Amy and Carl took part in the Redcar swim. They have already raised over £3,500 for the cause.