Hundreds of surfers, swimmers, paddle boarders and water users flocked to a Pembrokeshire beach this lunchtime to join a national day of protest against sewage in our seas.

The paddle out protest on Broad Haven beach was organised by Surfers Against Sewage and attracted people from Pembrokeshire and beyond, with some demonstrators coming from as far as Cardiff to make their voices known.

Western Telegraph: The demonstrators had some from Cardiff to join in.

Among this protesting were Pembrokeshire’s Blue Tit Chill Swimmers and the Broad Haven Buccaneers surf lifesaving club as well as crowds of surfers and paddle boarders.

Sue Christopher of the Buccaneers said the group had had to cancel four beach lifesaving training days last summer due to sewage pollution off Broad Haven.

Western Telegraph: The Buccaneers surf rescue club joined in the action.

One of the young people training with her on the beach today added: “It’s bad for our mental health as young people, if we can’t go in the sea it brings us down.”

Speaking at today’s protest was Jayne Etherington whose daughter Caitlin Edwards became ill with life-threatening HUS (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome ) after swimming in the sea off Amroth after a sewage spill.

Western Telegraph: Surfers ready to paddle out in protest.

Caitlin was infected with e-coli after the swim at the end of an idyllic summer two years ago. She ended up with total kidney failure and with two dialysis lines in her body in a scenario that was touch and go as to whether she would survive.

An investigation by Public Health Wales concluded that the most likely source of infection was from a sewage leak up the coast at Wiseman’s Bridge.

Western Telegraph: Ready to paddle out in protest.

Fortunately Caitlyn has made a full recovery. Jayne has since learnt of an eight year old child who was not so lucky.

“This is about life and death,” she told the assembled crowd. “It’s about time something changed.”

Jim of the Cleddau Project, which has been set up to help save and protect the tributaries, estuary, plants and animals of the whole Cleddau catchment, told the crown that the permit issued by Natural Resources Wales for the sewage treatment plant nearby West Walton allowed five times as much solid particulate as was deemed as safe over a century ago.

Western Telegraph: Swimming headwear gets the message across.

He also pointed out that the water companies self-monitored and reported their own figures back to NRW as the regulator.

“We need to up the pressure on Welsh Government in terms of monitoring, rather than relying on figures provided by the water companies.”

Surfer Pete Bounds said that the sea was threatened by sewage emissions, animal effluent, fertilisers and weedkiller washing off the land and plastic. He said that people power could make change happen sooner. He also spoke about the effect of sea pollution on tourism.

Western Telegraph: The message was loud and clear.

“We don’t wasn’t visitors to come to the county, help pay everybody’s wages, and find out that the beaches are full of sewage and say ‘I’m not going there again.

“We want them to come to somewhere that’s got clean water,” he said.

The hundreds of protestors then headed down to the sea where they got into the water chanting ‘cut the crap’ before enjoying the waves and sunshine.

Western Telegraph: The Blue Tit Chill Swimmers.

“It was amazing,” said Kate Bassett-Jones who helped organise the event. “We are really chuffed with the turn out. It’s a massive turn out which just shows how much people care. I’m really impressed.”