As part of the UK-wide annual sponsored Great British Skinny Dip, the British Naturism Northern Ireland urged local seasoned skinny dippers as well as nudie-newbies to experience swimming without trunks and bikinis to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
And they weren’t disappointed as dippers from throughout the province came along to enjoy the freedom and meet up with like-minded friends for six hours. Not only taking part in the fund-raising swim but they also enjoyed playing volleyball, jiving on the beach and even helping clothed walkers dig out their cars stuck in the sand.
This is the third year the event has been organised by the NI branch of British Naturism and so far they have raised over £4,000, with £1,000 raised on Sunday.
Belfast couple Gary and Noreen Kennedy, who have been with the British Naturism Northern Ireland for over five years and are now proud UK directors, aim to ‘normalise’ the pass-time.
Gary said: “It’s great to bring the Great British Skinny Dip to Portstewart again for the third year and we weren’t disappointed. Over 50 people came along to help us raise money once again for our chosen charity partner.
“From mental health and body positivity to just feeling the rush of being alive, there are many health benefits to being naked. Naturism is on the rise with an increase in interest and participation, with more and more people wanting to gain the health and well-being benefits of going without clothes. It’s also great fun as everyone who came along today saw!”
Agreeing, Noreen explained: “We want to normalise it. It’s great for self-confidence and being happy in your own skin. We would like to thank the National Trust in Portstewart for allowing us to do this each year. There were no complaints again, only inquisitive people wanting to walk to post 10 to see what was going on.”
Celebrating their 60th anniversary next year, Noreen added: “We’d have had an even bigger turn out but it’s the Irish branches 60th celebrates this weekend as well so they are having their own party.”
With over 150 members, the British Naturism Northern Ireland is looking to the future, Noreen added: “At the minute we’re in talks with the National Trust to allow us to get together in Portstewart once a month to enjoy craic!”
Head of BHF NI Fearghal McKinney, added: “We are the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory disease in Northern Ireland. We are grateful to the British Naturism NI branch for their fundraising efforts.”