Plunging into the North Sea isn’t usually a part of The Twelve Days of Christmas, until Ali Winskell decided to put her own spin on the festive tradition. 

Ms Winskell, 61 and from Mundesley, has completed 12 open water swims in memory of her brother Simon, who died of cancer aged 45.

She said: “I have never swum in cold water before but as I started in May and went through the summer it has gradually got colder so I have had time to acclimatise.

“It is very exhilarating swimming in cold water and you come out on a high.

North Norfolk News: Ali Winskell taking part in her Twelve Swims of Christmas challengeAli Winskell taking part in her Twelve Swims of Christmas challenge (Image: Supplied)“The coldest day we went in was -0.5 degrees. But the sea was still around 8 degrees. 

“Most of the swims were at Mundesley but one was at Overstrand with sausage sandwiches afterwards and a few were at Ebridge Mill when the sea was too rough.”

Ms Winskell launched the Mermaids Swimming Group after moving to Mundesley in February, and she was joined by two other members on her swims. 

She said: “There weren't any casual social swim groups here and I wanted to start wild swimming with like-minded people. 

“I couldn't have done the challenge without the support and encouragement of my fellow Mermaids.” 

Ms Winskell has raised almost £300 for Cancer Research UK through the swims so far, and donations can still be made online at