Festive fundraiser has family traditions…

The Tenby Boxing Day Swim has been a part of the town’s Christmas festivities for over five decades.

But the origins of its parent organisation, the Tenby Sea Swimming Association, date back for more than a century.
In 1910, Arthur Dickinson – Quaker, lay preacher, artist and keen swimmer – brought his family from Yorkshire to live in Ruabon House, South Parade. Arthur was a year-round swimmer, and family legend has it that he was the first person to swim to Caldey. The harness he made to support youngsters in the water is now in Tenby Museum.

His son-in-law, Ossie Morgan, who was appointed as headmaster of the Tenby Council School, carried on the family tradition of teaching children to swim. When Mr Morgan retired, his own offspring decided to get non-swimmers afloat, and in the 1960s, Idris Morgan, Gly Osborne, Alan Morgan and Ray Lowe formed the Tenby Sea Swimming Association (TSSA).

They sponsored and provided accommodation for some instructors from Atlantic College during the summer, finishing with a modest swimming gala.

The opening of Tenby’s first indoor swimming pool could have spelled the end of TSSA, but the organisation then took on a new lease of life in 1970 when Tenby’s publicity officer, John Evans, came up with the idea of a charity Boxing Day Swim to put Tenby on the map.

The rest, as they say, is history……