HUNDREDS of festive dippers took to the chilly waters off Boscombe Pier on Christmas Day for this year's White Christmas Dip.

Raising money for the Macmillan Unit at Christchurch Hospital, men and women in festive fancy dress ran into the sea for the annual event.

Now in its 10th year, the event has grown from just seven people to a massive fundraiser for the vital unit, which provides palliative care for terminally ill people.

Fancy dress outfits included men dressed as fairies, a Flintstones car, penguins, elves, pirates, Christmas trees, Cheshire cats and many, many Santas.

Southbourne Surf Lifesaving Club were also out in force to provide assistance and help in the chilly waters.

Organiser Tom Baker said: "We're so happy with how many people have come out.

"We think there are around 800 and we're on track to raise even more money than previously.

"We'd like to thank everyone for their support. I can't believe it's been 10 years since we first started this."

Spectators cheered on the swimmers from the sidelines, with volunteers collected funds from generous bystanders.

Organisers were hoping to raise £50,000 this anniversary year.

More than £100,000 has been raised since the event started in 2008.

The inspiration for the event was Tom Baker's uncle, John White, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

Neal Williams, trust secretary at Macmillan Caring Locally said referrals to the unit had tripled in the past ten years, and they were raising money to build a new unit as they had outgrown their current facility.

They launched an appeal earlier this year to raise awareness of their fundraising campaign.

Sponsors for this year's Dip included Dale Homes and Investments, Preston Redman Solicitors, Churchfield Sales and Lettings and RJ Hull and Company.