White Christmas Dip
642. Tommy Baker
Tommy Baker, from Christchurch, organises Bournemouth’s ‘White Christmas Dip’ - an annual fundraising event which sees hundreds of people charging into the cold sea in fancy dress on Christmas Day.
The dip started out as a family tradition when Tommy’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to bring the family together on Christmas Day. Tommy saw the opportunity to raise money for local charity Macmillan Caring Locally, which supports those suffering from terminal cancer and other terminal conditions, and opened up the event to members of the public. Last year the event attracted 750 swimmers and over 2,000 spectators. The current fundraising total is over £100,000.
In a personal letter to Tommy, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The ‘White Christmas Dip’ you organise is a fun and festive way of raising money and awareness for an important local charity. By sharing your family’s Christmas Day tradition, you are helping Macmillan Caring Locally continue to help those who are suffering from cancer and other terminal diseases, while supporting their families too.”
“I am both amazed and humbled to be receiving this award! I enjoy organising the White Christmas Dip so much that I no longer see it as volunteering as it’s become such an important part of my Christmas Day. The event wouldn’t be the size it is today without the team of volunteers who tirelessly work with me throughout the year to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Over the years we have raised in excess of £100,000 for Macmillan Caring Locally and see no reason why this won’t continue to grow so that we can continue to give vital funds to the terminally ill in our area.”
Neal Williams, Trust Secretary at Macmillan Caring Locally said:
“We are absolutely delighted Tommy has received a Points of Light Award, it is richly deserved. He and his family started the Macmillan White Christmas Dip in 2008 and Tommy has been the driving force behind it. His dedication and enthusiasm has grown it to the size it is today, our largest annual charity event supporting patients in our community who need specialist palliative care.”