01:24 GMT +324 March 2019
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    Participants in the annual North East Skinny Dip run into the sea at Druridge Bay, Britain, September 23, 2018

    Skinny Dip: Hundreds of Britons Bare it All to Welcome Autumn Equinox

    © REUTERS / Scott Heppell
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    Over 600 people ditched their clothes to brave the freezing waters of the North Sea as the sun’s rays aligned with the equator on Sunday morning.

    A record number of people took part in the annual North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, having run naked into the waves at dawn to mark the autumn equinox.

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    The event was held for a noble cause – to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

    “It was absolutely massive. There were 200 more people than last year. It’s just spiraled. I just want to express my eternal gratitude to everyone – the dippers, the volunteers, everyone. We’ve already raised £7,000 on the day, from donations and pledges and everything and there will be more to come,” organizer Jax Higginson said, adding that the final total will likely be between £10,000 and £12,000.

    Higginson believes there are different reasons for people to do the skinny dip: while some view it as a wild experience to step out of their comfort zone, others do it to connect with nature or to celebrate life.

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    Social media users, however, were divided on the annual event, with some praising the organizers and the participants…

    …while others were left unimpressed:

    Since 2012, Higginson’s brainchild has raised more than £30,000 for charity, with revelers gathering from 5 a.m. before stripping down and running into the water for sunrise before 7 a.m.

    “We always dip close to the Autumn Equinox in order to mark the transition from summer to winter. At NESD 2018, for the first time in our history, we will dip within hours of the exact moment the sun crosses the celestial equator,” Higginson revealed ahead of the event.

    mental health, charity, swimmer, naked, Britain
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