A CROWDFUNDING campaign to raise money to improve the experience of both locals and visitors in Fishguard and Goodwick has raised an impressive £17,115.

The crowdfunding campaign was set up by cousins from the Evans family, some of whom grew up in Fishguard and Goodwick, others who cherish fond memories from many holidays spent there over the years.

The cousins wrote to the Western Telegraph lamenting the state of the twin towns early last year. The outcome of this was a dialogue with the chamber of trade on what the towns needed. This in turn led to the fundraiser which was launched on St David's Day and had the support of Golden Globe-nominated Matthew Rhys, Grandson of Williams the Chemist of Fishguard.

The total raised, after the deduction of Crowfunder's fees, was £17,115.

This means that the three chosen projects: Theatr Gwaun's creative workshops for teenagers, Sea Trust Wales' replacement for the much-loved helter skelter outside the Ocean Lab and Fishguard Chamber of Trade and Tourism's interactive signage and not-for-profit guided walking, boat and minibus tours, will each receive £5,705.

Theatr Gwaun and Sea Trust Wales, as registered charities, will also hopefully be able to claim around £1,000 each in Gift Aid to add to their pots.

"We didn't reach the original £30k target but Tim and I were delighted with the response," said Ann-Marie Moreno, one of the cousins who started the campaign.

"We had donations from close on 300 individuals, including many members of our extended families, organisations and businesses - most of whom have no doubt suffered quite a lot of hardship over the last 12 months.

"It was fantastic too to have Sally Berry on board, walking the streets and lanes in and around Fishguard in her great costumes and banging the drum for our campaign - especially as Tim and I live in Essex and London respectively and couldn't be there in person.

"Sally chalked up 100 miles walking during the four weeks of the appeal and brought in a good number of donations along the way."

Ann Marie thanked Jeremy Martineau, secretary of the chamber of trade and tourism for all his input, guidance and energies.

She also thanked Ena Jean O'Neill who handled a lot of the social media put together a great promotional video; Georgina Cornock who provided some lovely harp music for the video, and Sue Whitbread and Alex Harding at Theatr Gwaun for their support and input.

Also thanked was actor Matthew Rhys who lent his support to the appeal and has a great affection for the twin towns.

"We had some really positive comments from the people of Fishguard and Goodwick as well as many 'expats' on our Crowdfunder page and on social media," said Ann-Marie.

"We are looking forward to coming to visit as soon as possible and to meeting up with some of the new friends we have made as a result of the campaign."

The cousins will be sending cheques for £5,705 to Theatr Gwaun and the Chamber of Trade & Tourism for them to spend on their respective projects.

It is thought that the helter skelter replacement, this might take a little longer as Sea Trust Wales is still in the process of acquiring the Ocean Lab from Pembrokeshire County Council.

"All in all it has been a great experience - hard work but we had some fantastic help and it was something constructive for us to do during lockdown," said Ann-Marie.