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Sumner residents take an icy plunge in remembrance

Elizabeth Robinson
Sumner Mid-Winter Swim
Mid-winter swim participants run to the sea, marking its third annual event.  Mary Van Tongeren (Supplied)

Single figure sea temperatures didn't stop Sumner residents from a mid-winter swim to remember two tragic deaths.

More than 150 people turned up for the third annual mid-winter Sumner community swim at 11am on Sunday.

Julie Zarifeh began the event in 2018 as part of a memorial service held for her husband, Paul, and son, Sam, who both passed away within weeks of each another in 2017.

She said the event was all about community cohesiveness and pride.

Five memorial stones along Sumner Esplanade represent the members of Zarifeh's family, and these were the gathering point for the swim.

"When we cut the ribbon on the stones for the first year, we had a swim as well. We all loved it so much that we decided to make it an annual event," Zarifeh said.

People of all ages turned up in support, with fun prizes drawn in the afternoon including oldest female swimmer, scantiest costume, best family group and best fun group. Prizes were donated by local businesses including Coffee Culture, Joe's Garage, Clink Restaurant and Bar, and Sumner Learn to Surf.

The family-friendly community event ended by warming up with drinks and music at the Village Inn Cafe in Sumner.