HUNDREDS of people who took the plunge in Tenby have enabled the Tenby Sea Swimming Association (TSSA) to raise over £8,600 for charities and good causes in the past year.

The group has organised the town’s famous Boxing Day Swim for 46 years, and is also behind the popular summertime Caldey Swim.

Last Christmas’s event in brilliant sunshine attracted a record-breaking 700-plus dippers, including Tenby’s mayor and mayoress, Councillor Laurence Blackhall and Samantha Skyrme.

“It is a really lovely event and was certainly a highlight of my mayoral year,” said Councillor Blackhall at TSSA’s annual presentation evening last Friday.

There were also 100 swimmers in the iconic Caldey Swim, which this year takes place on August 6.

The two events raised £8,694 for local, national and international charities and good causes, taking the total raised in the history of TSSA to nearly £270,000.

Leading the individual fundraisers was Stephanie James of Cardiff, who raised £1,038 for the Motor Neurone Disease charity, while for the fourth year in succession, Skanda Vale, near Llandysul, were the top fundraising group.

Their tuneful ‘pirates’ were an entertaining spectacle on the beach and they raised total of £528.57 for their new six bedroomed hospice,which is the only in-patient facility of its kind for Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

TSSA’s three nominated charities - Bloodwise, Hafal and the Stroke Association - each received £500, while there were donations of £50 each for swim safety cover providers St John Ambulance, Tenby coastguard, Tenby Surflink and Pembrokeshire Paddlers, and Tenby Sea Cadets who led the beach bonfire builders.

As a result of the Caldey Swim, £3,000 was presented to Tenby RNLI.

The canoe race winner was 13-year-old Rhys Griffiths of Pembroke, the great-grandson of Tenby sea swimming pioneer Ossie Morgan.

The swim was sponsored by Princes Gate Water, Big Brum’s and Milford Haven Port Authority.