‘Best year ever’ as 1044 take a Christmas day dip in Porthcawl

‘Best year ever’ as 1,044 take a Christmas day dip in Porthcawl

Friday, 03 January 2014

IN contrast to all the recent gales, the brave swimmers at Porthcawl’s 49th Christmas Morning Swim had comparatively calm weather, sunny intervals, lots of Christmas spirit and goodwill for a chilly dip in the Bristol Channel, reports spokesman IAN STROUD.
With the tide almost full in, 1,044 registered swimmers walked and ran down the beach to the sea and took the traditional Christmas morning dip at Sandy Bay Porthcawl, while an estimated 2,000-plus spectators supported them on a very crowded beach.
At 11.45am, Porthcawl Coastguards signalled the start of the parade and cleared a path through the spectators down the beach for the swimmers.
Many were in fancy dress as they walked from the Hi-Tide Inn to the sea.
The procession of swimmers of all ages, male and female, were led from the Hi-Tide Inn to the beach by Victor Davies and Chris Hughes, each with 49 swims to their name.
Spectators cheered and gave their full support to all those taking part in the 49th annual event. Swimmers from all over the UK and overseas took part. Among our regular entrants was veteran swimmer Susan Powell from Caldicot, Monmouthshire, who hasn’t missed a ‘Swim’ since 1978. There were also two visitors from Australia who joined in the festive event.
The swim is a truly family event, with many different generations of the same family taking to the sea and many in fancy dress.
The atmosphere all around the swimmers is very special and hard to explain. I look forward each year to meeting old friends, many of whom I only see perhaps at the swim and we exchange a Christmas greeting, sometimes up to our waist in the sea.
This year as I waded into the sea, just above knee depth, I had a very unusual request, a swimmer asked if I would mind taking a photo of him and his wife and handed me a camera!
Swim chairman, Nicola Willis commented:“Once again, we have been grateful to all who supported our swim and the number of people who turned up was fantastic.
“Collections are made during carol singing and during the swim; we hope the bucket collections and swimmers sponsorship will help us to make some generous donations in the New Year. Our beneficiaries this year will be local charities and organisations.
“As a small committee, we are delighted with the way we have been supported once again this year, I would like to thank all swimmers, spectators, individuals, businesses, fellow ‘Buckaneers’ and organisations who help in so many ways to make the swim such a successful event in the towns calendar.
“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 again – and provided us with good weather for a swim that saw more people in the water than most summer bank holidays. This was our best year ever,� Nicola added.

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