Saundersfoot Beach was the place to be to welcome in the New Year in style. A record 2523 registered swimmers braved the icy waters and thousands of spectators turned out for the 38th annual Saundersfoot New Year’s Day Swim in Pembrokeshire, the largest festive dip in the UK.
The charitable event just gets bigger and better – and as the gathered masses prepared for the big event they were entertained by the dancers from Cast & Crew Performing Art School & Mor Creative who provided the warm-up, whilst the crowd provided a powerful rendition of Status Quo's, ‘Rockin All Over the World’.
The swim countdown was initiated by ‘Star Of The Swim’ Martyn Williams, previous Chairman and founder member of Saundersfoot Festivities and at 12.30pm the swimmers were sent down the sands by a firework launch, courtesy of Westcoast Fireworks.
The swimmers did not disappoint on the fancy dress front and Janine had a difficult job adjudicating. The group fancy dress was won by Mick Booth and Rachel Lemmon from Saundersfoot as a defibrillator and heart, the individual award went to David Mc Dermott.
All swimmers were captured on camera by local photographer, Gareth Davies, who has attended every one of The New Year’s Day Swims.
(Photographs of the swim can be obtained from Gareth Davies Photography, Tel: 07836 334436).
Saundersfoot Festivities Chairman Chris Williams said, "The village and wider community has done us proud again. We could not have conceived 38 years ago that we would be hosting such a major event. Our driving force, as always, is the huge number of fantastic causes that benefit. Thirty-nine years on and this event is getting bigger and better with thousands of pounds raised for charity. The people from Saundersfoot, the surrounding areas and even further afield have come out in force to support this marvellous event despite the weather. The community of Saundersfoot is incredibly supportive and passionate about their Village Swim.
The Swim is constantly evolving and this is the first year where we have had to implement an online registration & Ticketing system to help with the many hidden costs and swimmer safety. This couldn’t have gone any better and we thank you all for supporting the biggest festive swim in the UK.
As costs have increased year on year, it was getting to the point where hosting such a large scale event for free was unsustainable. With the additional income stream from the online Ticketing we are now protecting the future of the swim and also generating extra money for the many charities and worthwhile causes.
This Swim wouldn’t be possible without a dedicated committee who have worked tirelessly over the last ten months to ensure the event runs smoothly. I will also take this opportunity to thank all the safety marshals and the volunteers who assist on the day as their support and time is invaluable.
I would also like to thank all the sponsors and businesses for their continued support, which has far exceeded expectations. Without their help it wouldn’t be possible to hold this event and I thank you all personally.
Thanks also goes to our event partners - Tenby Surf & Rescue, Pembroke Paddlers, Saundersfoot Sailing Club, HM Coast Guard and the RNLI (who provide the water safety cover). St John’s Ambulance, Tenby Fire Brigade and the Police who assist with emergency cover.
Special thanks also to Richard Merriman ; Salt On The Strand (who've helped with, sponsor forms, Swim shirts, Bobble hats and Swim registration) ; Dan Roach & Partners ; Hean Castle Estate ; Saundersfoot Harbour Commission & Team, Andrew Evans & Dan Edison, Benny Bond and Rhodri Lewis.
Lastly I would like to thank all those who have registered this year and to let you know that you can hand in your sponsor forms to Salt On The Strand when you’ve collected your sponsorship. In previous years we’ve held a Presentation evening in May. After the Swim we will be in touch with you all individually to upload your photos and the amount raised to our site to promote the charities you’ve collected for. We will still have a Presentation and details will follow by the end of January”.
You can follow Charlie Shivers (Swim Mascot) on Facebook, X, Instagram @CharlieShivers
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