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Merrymakers throng Elbow Beach

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Holiday revellers hit Elbow Beach to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday.

Hundreds of merrymakers mingled on the sand wearing a mix of Santa Claus hats, swimwear and festive sweaters.

Barbara McCreight, 73, said she and her husband Ernie had been taking part in the annual holiday event “for ever”.

The Southampton resident added: “It's a tradition — Christmas is not the same if we don't come here. We watch the weather every day and we pray like mad.”

Mr McCreight, 69, said it was the 47th year the pair had made the Christmas Day trek to the beach. His wife added: “The first time there was nobody here.”

She said that the atmosphere of the event was what kept them coming back over the years.

Ms McCreight explained: “I can't think of another thing that would beat this ambience.”

The pair was joined by their children and grandchildren.

Kiran Shah, the McCreight's son-in-law, said that he enjoyed the inclusivity of the day.

He added: “Anyone can come down. It's a celebration — it's lovely family time.”

Mr Shah, who has lived in Bermuda for the last 15 years, said the beach event had become part of his family's tradition as well. The 44-year-old Southampton resident was accompanied by his three children — Tristan, 8, Annabella, 6, and Sienna, 3.

He encouraged those in attendance for the first time to “relax and enjoy the vast diversity and array of people from the community”.

Mr Shah added: “I think that just coming and watching is the best way to enjoy.”

Canadians Aaron Roche and Alex Francis attended as part of their first visit to Bermuda.

The brothers-in-law used sand instead of snow to create a horizontal “sandman” on the beach. Mr Francis described the event turnout as “something special”.

Karla Aitken, 58, used sand to build a circular sitting area and table to entertain new and old friends. She said: “I make everybody welcome — no matter who they are.”

The Southampton resident said that she had arrived at the beach at 7am and that her first effort to create the lounge had been washed away by the high tide. Ms Aitken added: “We had to build a barricade to save this one.”

She said that it was the third time she had taken part in the Christmas Day event.

Ms Aitken said that she enjoyed the chance to interact with people not used to spending the holiday on a beach.

She added: “They just love it.”

Kean Driscoll, 45, said that it was the beautiful weather that brought him and his family back to the beach year after year.

The Paget resident added: “I don't know how Bermuda does it.”

His wife Bridget, aged 45, said that the event was a great chance for their four children — Caroline, 14, Jack, 12, Luke, 9, and Aidan, 7 — to get outside and for the family members to see friends.

Mr Driscoll said the day served as a great opportunity to showcase the best of Bermuda — “the beaches, the weather, the community”.

He added: “It's a good way to celebrate.”

Dennis Reid said the celebration was all about the people.

Mr Reid, 54, added: “You meet new people and you'll meet old friends as well.”

The Southampton resident was joined by wife Debbie, aged 53, and son James, aged 20.

Mr Reid said the family, originally from London, England, had lived in Bermuda for the last 12 years.

He said the three had split Christmases on island and abroad since they arrived.

Mr Reid said the event also served another purpose.

He explained: “Sending photos back to our friends in England who are struggling in the cold — that cheers us up as well.”

Elbow Beach packed with Christmas Day revellers (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Christmas Day at Elbow Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Christmas Day at Elbow Beach: Lily Rose Thompson 19 months (center) (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published December 27, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 27, 2018 at 8:01 am)

Merrymakers throng Elbow Beach

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