A Hastings woman injured during a Christmas Day swim in the sea has died.

The lady was knocked off her feet by a wave and hit her head on a groyne at Hastings Beach about 10.40am yesterday.

Lifeboat crews pulled her unconscious body from the water before she was taken to hospital. She had been described as being in "poor health."

Sussex Police confirmed today the woman had died.

A spokesman from the force said: "At 10.40am yesterday an adult female was paddling in the sea at Hastings when it appears that she was hit by a wave and taken a short distance out to sea.

"The lady was recovered and given emergency CPR before being taken to a local hospital. Sadly she has died as a result of this incident."

It's thought the woman was with a small group of swimmers who had decided to brave the chilly weather and take a festive plunge.

A Dover Coastguard spokesman described how after hitting her head, she lay "face down in the water for some time."

He added: "The winds were gusting around 50 knots. It was not suitable for swimming or small craft."

Around 100 spectators flocked to Brighton beach yesterday in hope of witnessing the traditional Christmas Day swim. They were left disappointed when nobody entered the water following safety advice from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Last year a drowning man was rescued on Brighton beach in similar conditions and in 2007, 12 people were rescued, again when the weather was windy with treacherous waves.