Sussex

Brighton club's Christmas Day swim cancelled

Swimmers stand in the snow on Brighton beach
Image caption Swimmers in previous years have had to brave a snow-covered beach

Brighton Swimming Club has cancelled its annual Christmas Day swim over safety fears.

Swimmers have been warned by Brighton and Hove City Council to stay away from the sea over the winter.

The beach around Brighton Pier will be closed in a bid to stop swimmers entering the water on Christmas Day, the council said.

Chris Ingall said inexperienced swimmers entering the water were "an accident waiting to happen".

Mr Ingall, the seafront manager, said: "Sea swimming takes skill, stamina and knowledge of the physical dangers and should only be for the very experienced, using suitable wetsuits, in very calm conditions.

"The combination of the amount of people and their inexperience, and some of the drinking as well, it's an accident waiting to happen, and accidents have happened."

Brighton Swimming Club has been organising the swim on 25 December since 1860.

Dozens normally take part in the event in the English Channel at 11:00 GMT near Brighton Pier.

Fiona Southwell, from the club, said those entering the water were risking their lives.

She said: "Those people jumping in on Christmas morning are totally unaware of the environment they're jumping into, as well as the sea temperature."

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