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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 16:56 GMT
Christmas swims attract hundreds
Swimmers at Tenby ahead of taking the Boxing Day plunge

Hundreds of bathers have taken to the seas off south Wales for festive season swims in aid of charity.

On Boxing Day, more than 550 took the plunge at Tenby, Pembrokeshire and many more braved the water at Pembrey Park, near Llanelli.

Meanwhile, the annual Christmas morning swim in Porthcawl attracted more than 850 swimmers with an estimated 4000 spectators cheering them on.

Swimmers from across the UK, France, Hong Kong and Australia took part.

Many swimmers were in fancy dress for the 37th annual Tenby Boxing Day swim.

The theme for the event was children's favourites which saw characters including Hagrid, Noddy, Robin Hood, Snow White and Three Blind Mice amongst the dippers, and prizes were handed out to the best dressed.

21st Walrus Dip at Pembrey Park, near Llanelli
Paul Salkeld, Colin and Jon Webb take part in the Walrus dip

Over the years, the event has raised 160,000 for good causes and those set to benefit in 2007 include the Gareth Scotcher Trust Fund, which was set up in support of a young Tenby father with motor neurone disease.

Chris Osborne, chair of the Tenby Sea Swimming Association (TSSA), which organised the swim, said : "The weather was excellent, and we welcomed a fantastic turnout of swimmers and a massive crowd of spectators, who all contributed to that special Tenby Boxing Day Swim atmosphere."

The annual Christmas morning dip in Porthcawl is in its 43rd year and entrants included Ken James of Ogmore Vale, Bridgend who claims to be the event's oldest entrant at 81.

Mr James also has 29 previous Christmas swims to his credit.

Organiser Ian Stroud said many young children and parents also took part.

Collections made during a carol service and the swim itself are set to benefit the charity Latch, which provides support for children with cancer and leukaemia in Wales.

21st Walrus Dip at Pembrey Park, near Llanelli
Paul Salkeld, Colin and Jon Webb take part in the Walrus dip

Mr Stroud said he was delighted by the success of the swim.

"The scene at Sandy Bay this year was very special," he said.

"To have such a crowded beach, at this time of the year goes to prove that some of our departed founder swimmers were looking down on us and allowing very reasonable conditions for a swim that saw more people in the water than on most summer days."

The waters off Pembrey Park, near Llanelli, were also filled with swimmers in fancy dress for the 21st annual Walrus Dip.

SEE ALSO
In pictures: Boxing Day swimmers
26 Dec 07 |  In Pictures
Boxing Day swimmers take plunge
26 Dec 05 |  South West Wales



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