HARDY swimmers are getting set to plunge into the bracing Notrh Sea during Clacton's annual Christmas Day dip.

Hundreds of brave swimmers charge into the water every year as part of the resort's festive tradition.

The daredevils take to the North Sea at 10am and are watched by hundreds more who keep to the safety of the promenade.

Some swimmers opt for a wetsuit, while others stick with regular bathing costumes and some prefer a more festive outfits or fancy dress.

The teeth-chattering tradition was started by members of Clacton Swimming Club in 1953.

Those who took part included Grev Miller, Fred Eastman, Denis Ivory, John Ransom, Bob Chapman, Tony Farthing, Peter Berry, Brian Graver and Hugh Arnot.

Fred, now 83, who had only ever missed the annual event when he had to completed his National Service, did not brave the waters last year, but watched on as his three sons carried on his love of the tradition.

"This is a tradition which has been going since 1953," he previously said.

"Over the years I have found it is generating more and more interest, we can expect around 500 people.

"The atmosphere down there on Christmas morning is pretty happy and jovial, a lot of people seeing friends and travelling down with family.

"It started with around eight to ten people and it grew quite quickly to up to 50 people, now we are getting vast numbers.

"There is no sensible explanation to it, it is a celebration.

"It really wakes you up.

"Instead of being slumped over stuffed with mince pies and blown out by lunch, you start the day feeling really fresh."