There's sure to be plenty of 'Mickey taking' on Boxing Day in Tenby this year, as the famous charity swim takes on a Disney fancy dress theme!
Christmas in Tenby wouldn’t be complete without the Boxing Day Swim, and Disney’s making a splash this year as the festive frenzy of fun enters its second half century.
2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, so the hardy souls braving the briny at North Beach this year are invited to don costumes inspired by their favourite Disney characters and films.
Assembly of swimmers, dashers and splashers takes place at 11am for an 11.30 start. Fancy dress parade at 11.15. A large bonfire will be kept blazing on the beach to warm swimmers after their icy plunge.
Sponsored this year by Harbour Wealth, Outer Reef and the Port of Milford Haven Community Fund, it’s an event that always draws a crowd of spectators and well wishers. They’ll be cheering on the dippers, who will be raising funds for charity as they make their mad dash into the wintry waves. As usual, there will also be bucket collections for local charities.
It’s the 51st Tenby Boxing Day Swim, raising funds to help those who, at this time of year especially, are faced with so many difficulties.
This cheerful event is made possible through the collaboration of the Tenby Harbourmaster and many of the seaside town’s organisations, including Tenby Sea Swimming Association (TSSA), Tenby Surflink, Tenby RNLI and St John's Ambulance.
Many of the town’s pubs and cafés will be welcoming participants and spectators after the swim, and the council and Danfo have given assurances that public loos will be kept open.
It’s going to be a lot of fun, and if you fancy joining in, you can register online for the swim at TenbyBoxingDaySwim.co.uk . It’s only £5 to enter. Deadline for entry is midnight, December 30, which is pretty special, as it’s a few days after the event! You can download a sponsor form, and choose either to nominate your own worthy cause or raise funds for the TSSA nominated charities.
For safety reasons, participants are reminded to keep warm, not to drink alcohol before the plunge, and to consult with their doctor if they are over 50 or on any medication.
Tenby - the jewel in Pembrokeshire’s crown - has a decades-long tradition of icy plunges on the morning after Christmas, but the origins of the Tenby Sea Swimming Association go back further than Disney!
In 1910, Yorkshire Quaker, artist and keen swimmer Arthur Dickinson brought his family to live in Tenby. Arthur was a year-round swimmer; his family maintains he was the first person to swim to Caldey. He undertook to teach local children to swim; the harness he made to support youngsters in the water is now in Tenby Museum.
Mr Dickinson’s son-in-law, Ossie Morgan, headmaster of the Tenby Council School, took on the mantle of teaching children to swim. When Mr Morgan retired, his own offspring carried on the family tradition of getting non-swimmers afloat, and in the 1960s, Idris Morgan, Gly Osborne, Alan Morgan and Ray Lowe formed the Tenby Sea Swimming Association.
TSSA might have ceased to exist after Tenby opened its first indoor swimming pool, but in 1970 the town’s publicity officer, John Evans, came up with the idea of a charity Boxing Day Swim “to put Tenby on the map”. It became an annual event and the family connection remains to this day.
Tenby’s ‘Golden’ 50th Boxing Day Swim was held in 2022 after a two-year Covid-enforced absence, with over 800 swimmers taking part, and was blessed with 45 minutes of blue sky and sunshine. Here’s hoping that this year’s will be even better!