Blue skies and sunshine were a Boxing Day bonus for the thousands who enjoyed the festive fun of Tenby’s 39th charity swim.

After the week’s icy weather and heavy rain, weather conditions tipped up in favour of the crazy event, and around 500 dippers took the plunge in 7 degree conditions.

The fancy dress theme of ‘seasonal songs’ brought out Christmas trees, Rudolphs, The Holly and the Ivy and even The Twelve Days of Christmas, with swimmers in fine voice as they bid for the singing group title.

This was judged by local entertainer Laurie Dale, while his actor son Charles - currently appearing in Casualty - was the swim’s official starter.

The Dyfed-Powys police helicopter swooped over Carmarthen Bay, above Tenby’s all-weather lifeboat, the Haydn Miller and the new inshore craft, the Georgina Taylor, and the swim was preceded by round-Goscar canoe and raft races.

Chilly bathers received commemorative medals and warmed up with soup served by Tenby and Saundersfoot Lions around the bonfire.

Chris Osborne, chairman of event organiser,Tenby Sea Swimming Association (TSSA), described the turnout as ‘heartwarming’.

“The Tenby Boxing Day Swim has grown to become a serious seasonal spectacle, and it’s particularly welcome as an antidote to the current challenging economic situation,” he said.

The swim looks set to raise thousands of pounds for a variety of charities and good causes, including TSSA’s headline beneficiaries of the Pembrokeshire Stroke Club, Pembrokeshire’s Hope Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre, Pembrokeshire Special Needs Gymnastics Club,Ty Hafan Children’s Hospice for Wales and Leukaemia Research, Tenby and district branch, with the charity fund getting off to an excellent start with £2,035 from the bucket collection.

Tenby’s mayor, Councillor Sue Lane, judged the fancy dress competiton and the winners were - family group: While Shepherds Washed Their Socks - Jane Hewitt and family; adult group: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree - Michelle Wiggins, Jane Parfitt, Julie Driver and Christine Butland; adult: Christmas tree - Tony Balfe; child: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Thomas Griffiths.

Singing group:The Twelve Days of Christmas - Freshwater East Fishers and friends.

Ross Kettle won the canoe race while Josie Price’s teamwere victorious in the raft race.