West Mersea's annual Boxing Day Swim. Last year, my son went in. This year, his elder sister joined him. The snow has gone from all but the darkest corners now, and the sun was shining, but there was a chill wind blowing.
Hundreds turned out to watch the the brave souls who were prepared to turn blue and goosebumpy to raise money for an organisation of central importance to the island - the RNLI. Crewed by highly trained volunteers, Mersea's lifeboat is busy all year round, providing offshore assistance to those in trouble on the water, from windsurfers and jet-skiers to sailing and motor vessels of every kind, as well as helping the other emergency services at high water when the Strood is impassable. Our own boat was joined today by the Clacton lifeboat and crew. Last year's swim raised over £5,000 in sponsorship, donations and takings from the sale of hot drinks and mince pies on the beach.