The organisers of the Saundersfoot New Year’s Day Swim have given a ‘massive round of applause’ to the fancy dress fundraisers that make the charity event such a great spectacle on the Pembrokeshire calendar, and the largest festive dip in the UK!

Saundersfoot Beach was the place to be to welcome in the New Year in style - as a record 2523 registered swimmers braved the icy waters and thousands of spectators turned out for the 38th annual New Year’s Day Swim.

The swimmers did not disappoint on the fancy dress front and judge 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; whilst the individual award went to David McDermott.

Saundersfoot Mick Booth
The group fancy dress was won by Mick Booth and Rachel Lemmon from Saundersfoot as a defibrillator and heart (Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

Well known Saundersfoot resident Mick entered the sea on New Year’s Day with Rachel in aid of Roy’s Defibrillator unit.

Along with Roy, they raised an incredible £1,000, and were also boosted by £150 from Saundersfoot Festivities for winning the fancy dress competition. This has also been matched funded by DHDC defibrillator Grant to take the total to £2,150.

Mick and Rachel will be back next year and wish to express thanks to all at the event.

Another swim stalwart is the amazing John Joseph who was taking part in doing his 38th swim having been there from the start!

Joining John this year was his niece who was taking part for the first time.

John who raised £120 for Saundersfoot Cancer Research this year, hopes to continue for many more years to come!Regular volunteers and fundraisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind locally, Helen and Tony Hedley (supported by Fred and Wilma) also braved the swim, so far raising a wonderful grand total of £730! Helen has a rare condition which means she is losing her central vision so the cause is very important to them

The charitable event just gets bigger and better - and the 2023 swim raised an incredible £31,260 for worthy causes. The generosity of the commercial sponsors ensures that every penny raised is donated to charity.

In the 40-year history of this Swim, it has raised over £600,000!

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.

NYDS fancy dress
(Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“The swim is constantly evolving and this is the first year where we have had to implement an online registration and 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,” he continued.

“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.

Saundersfoot fancy dress group
(Pic. Gareth Davies Photography)

“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.

“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.

“We will still have a presentation evening and details will follow by the end of January,” added Chris.

For further information on the Swim, please visit: