A meeting will be held in Saundersfoot in the New Year, to look at ways of sharing ideas for the seaside village, in light of the Chamber for Tourism disbanding earlier this year - which has resulted in several popular events not taking place throughout the calendar.

Saundersfoot held its Christmas lights switch-on on December 1, but many businesses and locals have been asking where the rest of the Yuletide decorations and illuminations have gone?

The festive switch-on saw many turn out at the seaside village to enjoy pupils of Saundersfoot CP School entertaining everyone with their singing, whilst the Christmas lights were triggered into life.

But with the focus on the Sensory Garden, where the Christmas tree stands and various other illuminations, including the festive ‘Welcome to Saundersfoot’ sign, it has been noticeable to many that the rest of the village seems a little bare, whereas in recent years, many travelling in the locality have made a special detour to see the seaside village lit-up at this ‘most wonderful time of the year’.

With no New Year’s Eve firework planned either this year to welcome in 2024, landlady of the Hean Castle Inn Suzannah Palmer, has stepped in to try and save Christmas, by setting up a fireworks fundraiser and also rounding up fellow licensees and businesses to put their own festive light decorations up.

“Myself and Kim Pettifer have had a few meetings regarding Christmas Lights and NYE fireworks, and we wanted to share what we know and hope that it clarifies a few things,” said Suzannah.

“So as we are all aware in February this year, the Chamber for Tourism disbanded and with this their involvement with various events in the village have ceased, such as the cawl run, the Halloween trail, Christmas lights, NYE fireworks.

“I for one did not foresee the implications in this decision - that I know was not taken lightly - and took it for granted that someone would pick up the challenge and get on with it.

“In simple terms, the business are this year responsible for their own lights. We have looked at the cost of checking them, pat testing them, a cherry picker, a two-man team to put them up, and take them down, fuel cost, liability insurance, risk assessment and any parts that are required for lights that might not work.

“All in its approximately £13,000 which now and in the future is not economical for the village to fund, so we as businesses will need to do our own lights,” continued Suzannah.

The Hean Inn Saundersfoot
The Hean Inn has stepped-in to round up businesses (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“Going forward into next year I know a meeting will be taking place on January 25 and any businesses that haven’t been invited need to get in touch with Cllr Chris Williams and get the invite.”

Suzannah has also set up a GoFundMe page for the New Year’s Eve fireworks, which has already reached over £1,000 of its £2,000 target.

“For the last 24 years, The Chamber of Tourism have done a fantastic job of organising our village events but sadly, as a consequence of them disbanding, nothing was organised, so I have taken the challenge and have managed to secure a professional firework company to do the display,” continued Suzannah.

“I have asked all the pubs and restaurants to donate but obviously the more I can raise the better. Any funds left over will go towards next year’s display so we aren't in this position again.”

Head to the following link to donate: https://gofund.me/7937e224

County councillor for Saundersfoot’s south ward Cllr Chris Williams has also been left disappointed about the fact that there are limited Christmas lights in the village and no fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

“Unfortunately the Chamber for Tourism finished back at the start of the year and no group has come forward this year to take responsibility to put up all the lights and organise the fireworks,” he remarked.

“The chamber did an incredible job for over twenty years and I feel they didn’t get enough support recently when membership numbers dropped along with volunteers who helped out with various events through the year.

Saundersfoot Christmas 2023
The festive switch-on in Saundersfoot (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“It’s disappointing that the village won’t be lit up like previous years, but it’s heartening to see all positive comments online in offering support and how this can be achieved in the future.

“I’m also well aware that there is support to introduce the fireworks this New Year’s Eve and I wish them every success,” continued Cllr Williams who is also chair of the charitable New Year’s Day Swim committee.

“I had already arranged an events meeting at the end of January for all the groups who organise events to come forward to look at ways of sharing ideas, equipment, knowledge and costs.

“I’ve also invited various land owners to this meeting to look at ways of spreading events throughout the year and keeping the main school summer holidays clear.

“With the Chamber finishing in February 2023 , there were many events which they organised which have now finished.

“The purpose of the meeting is to look at a calendar of events all year round and who takes responsibility for organising them.”

Cllr Williams can be contacted at: [email protected]