Black, blue or Union Jack

In deference to the All Blacks v England second test in Dunedin today, the annual midwinter swim at St Clair Beach tomorrow has a theme.

''We want people to dress in a Union Jack to support the Poms or in black to support the All Blacks. That can be face paint, anything in black or with a Union Jack, a nun's habit, the suit you wear to the office, or your Union Jack undies,'' said Antony Mason, the polar plunge organiser and former chairman and life member of the St Clair Surf Lifesaving Club, which is organising the annual event with More FM.

''England rugby supporters are particularly welcome. It's a day to have a bit of fun.''

The theme had attracted much interest on the club's Facebook page, with more than 1000 saying they would be in for a chilly dip, he said.

Dunedin's winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, falls on Saturday, June 21, but this year will be celebrated at St Clair Beach tomorrow, a week early, because of the rugby test.

On Otago's shortest day of the year next week, the sun will rise at 8.20am and set at 4.59pm.

Officially, the day is eight hours, 39 minutes and four seconds long.

Predicting how many would turn up was an impossible task but, strangely, the worse the weather, usually the bigger the crowd, Mr Mason said.

The polar plunge is at noon tomorrow and people should plan to be there by at least 11.45am to avoid missing out, he said.

- Ian Stuart. 

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