MOST families will wake up on Christmas Day looking forward to opening presents and enjoying a leisurely dinner.

But one Walcot family face a chilly morning dip in the sea – before the fun of Christmas can begin.

The Hazells are taking to the seas around Weymouth, joining around 400 others for the annual harbour swim.

They hope that the bracing dip - organised every year by charity Weymouth Lions -will see them raise hundreds for Brighter Futures.

Dad Dean, 51, will take on the challenge with wife Mary-Ann and eight-year-old daughter Lily.

The bricklayer said: “We go down to Weymouth quite a lot. My daughter saw this swim across the harbour advertised.

“We thought we’d do it for a Swindon charity.”

The family are already keen fundraisers for Brighter Futures, having taken part in the annual Reindeer Run – a 5k jog around Coate Water that sees all the runners don felt antlers.

Mary-Ann works in the hospital’s physiotherapy team, seeing first-hand how important having a new radiotherapy centre would be for Swindon.

Dean’s friend is currently going through cancer. He said: “At the moment, he travels up to Oxford by taxi. It can’t be cost effective.”

He said the town desperately needs the new treaqt

“I think the radiotherapy unit at the Great Western Hospital is long overdue.”

But this keenness to get the potentially life-saving new kit in Swindon does not explain why Dean and his family will line up on a harbour wall on December 25 – shivering in their wetsuits.

For that the family have eight-year-old Lily to blame.

The keen youngster swims with club Swindon Dolphins and is excitedly preparing for the bracing challenge.

“I’m probably the weakest swimmer of the lot of us,” said Dean, who confessed that he has done minimal training for the swim later this month.

He joked: “I’m not one of those dad’s who’s going to let her win.”

However, his chances against his Lainesmead-pupil daughter don’t look favourable.

“The swim seemed like a good idea in August,” Dean added. “But now the cold snap’s come I’m not so sure. It’s too late to back out now.”

At least dad Dean will have something to look forward to.

He said: “We’ve got Christmas dinner to go to afterwards. But we’re staying on one side of the harbour and the finish line is on the opposite side. Hopefully someone’s going to be waiting with blankets.

“Christmas dinner is going to be quite a reward.”

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