Saundersfoot Beach was the place to be this morning as thousands of swimmers and spectators welcomed in 2024 in style. A record 2,523 registered swimmers braved the icy waters and an estimated 10,000 spectators turned out for the 38th annual Saundersfoot New Year’s Day Swim in Pembrokeshire, the largest festive dip in the UK.

The charitable event just gets bigger and better – and as the gathered masses prepared for the big event they were entertained by the dancers from Cast & Crew Performing Art School and Mor Creative who provided the warm-up, while the crowd provided a powerful rendition of Status Quo's, Rockin All Over the World.

The swim countdown was initiated by Star Of The Swim Martyn Williams, previous chairman and founder member of Saundersfoot Festivities and at 12.30pm the swimmers were sent down the sands by a firework launch, courtesy of Westcoast Fireworks.

The swimmers did not disappoint on the fancy dress front and Janine had a difficult job choosing the best. The group fancy dress was won by Mick Booth and Rachel Lemmon from Saundersfoot as a defibrillator and heart, the individual award went to David Mc Dermott.

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.

“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.”

Chris added that the additional income stream from the online ticketing would protect the future of the swim and also generate extra money for the many charities and worthwhile causes.

This swim’s dedicated committee has worked tirelessly over the last ten months to ensure the event runs smoothly. Chris thanked all the safety marshals and the volunteers helped today for their invaluable support and time. He also thanked all the sponsors and businesses for their continued support, which had far exceeded expectations, and to event partners - Tenby Surf & Rescue, Pembroke Paddlers, Saundersfoot Sailing Club, HM Coast Guard and the RNLI (who provide the water safety cover). St John’s Ambulance, Tenby Fire Brigade and the police who assist with emergency cover. Special thanks went out to Richard Merriman; Salt On The Strand; Dan Roach & Partners; Hean Castle Estate; Saundersfoot Harbour Commission and team, Andrew Evans and Dan Edison, Benny Bond and Rhodri Lewis. “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,” said Chris.

“We will be in touch with you all individually to upload your photos and the amount raised to our site to promote the charities you’ve collected for. We will still have a presentation and details will follow by the end of January”.

For further information on the Swim, please visit: You can follow Charlie Shivers (Swim Mascot) on Facebook, X, Instagram @CharlieShivers All swimmers were captured on camera by local photographer, Gareth Davies, who has attended every one of The New Year’s Day Swims.

Photographs of the swim can be obtained from Gareth Davies Photography, Tel: 07836 334436.