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31st Charity Garden Crawl – Sunday 30th June 2019

Ferryside is the coastal village which recently featured on the BBC programme ‘Sam and Shauna’s Big Cookout’, in which Sam and Shauna from Hang Fire restaurant in Barry spent a week discovering the delights of Ferryside.

Their visit coincided with last year's Garden Crawl, and after a fantastic day of wandering around the village exploring the gardens, culminated in a cookout on the beach, when the volunteers, gardeners and villagers were able to sample some of the delicious food cooked by Sam and Shauna, with a bit of help from some of the crew.

Sam and Shauna get ready for a trip on the lifeboat

This year's Garden Crawl will be on Sunday 30thJune beginning at 1pm, with twenty-eight gardens open to explore.

Wandering around the village you can enjoy a variety of refreshments available in many of the venues, whilst listening to live music in some of the gardens. As well as enjoying the villages horticultural endeavours, there will be strange characters popping up all around the village - as the annual scarecrow competition continues!

The ferry will be running so you could also enjoy a trip across the estuary.

The Lifeboat station will be open and crew will be there to show visitors around the lifeboat and explain how the lifeboat operates.

Ferryside Inshore Lifeboat is one of more than seventy inshore lifeboats stationed around the British Isles that operate independently of the RNLI. It remains though a 'declared facility' as part of HM Coastguards Search and Rescue organisation and is launched in response to 999 calls under the control of HM Coastguard. The inshore lifeboat at Ferryside is now a Marine Division of St. John Cymru.

The lifeboat is needed to provide support for anyone who gets into difficulties along this stretch of coastline, this year the lifeboat has already been called out eleven times.

Anyone for mussels and lobster? The lifeboat crew help Sam & Shauna cook a meal for the village

The gardens are open each year to support Ferryside Lifeboat which is totally dependent on charitable fund-raising events such as this. Your support is truly important to the crew and is essential to maintaining this service.

Programmes and maps will be available from Ferryside Village Hall, The Cabin, The White Lion, Pryd O Fwyd, Ferryside Stores and all venues on the day.

The 29th Annual Garden Crawl

Hard to believe but that is now twenty-nine years of Garden Crawls!

Thankfully this year we were spared the heavy rain of 2016 and consequently we had a fantastic response in visitor numbers. There was a serious shortage of parking spaces within the village, so thank you very much to the committee at ‘Calon y Fferi for allowing us to use their car-parking space, a real bonus.

There seemed to be a constant stream of visitors coming into the Village Hall, buying programmes, raffle tickets and merchandise. Whilst the ladies organising the teas found themselves working in what amounted to a sauna in the kitchen area. They eventually raised a record £377 from their tea, coffee and cake sales a really fantastic effort. Thank you so much. Also thanks to Fraser who raised £124 from a merchandise stall outside his house and Mrs Field a new resident of the village who ran a Garden Sale on the day raising £100.

Live music has become such an integral part of the Garden Crawl and this year we were so lucky to have three events as part of the Crawl. Classical Music provided by Norman and Brenda at Bronteg, Jazz from ‘Silver Swing’ at Tony and Penny’s and ‘Super Hans’ at the White Lion courtesy of Sue and Dave, with Jesper providing a BBQ. In addition, Sue at the White Lion sold merchandise and ran the Raffle for us raising £368.

The event was supported by twenty-two Gardens, which again is fantastic for a village the size of Ferryside. Already I am hearing of other gardeners wanting to take part next year which is wonderful news, especially as it will be the Thirtieth Anniversary Crawl. We would be delighted to have even more if you are considering taking part. The Lifeboat crew cannot thank the Gardeners enough for their wonderful support, without you there would be no Garden Crawl and no funds for operating the service.

The ‘Scarecrow’ contest organised by Mike Bailey, again proved to be a big success, with the theme of Welsh Myths and Legends. Various Merlins appeared around the village, along with King Arthur, Rebecca and a number of incredible mythological figures from Ferryside’s past. We employed an independent judge this year and she found it difficult to pick the winning scarecrow, finally it was awarded to the School for their interpretation of Gwenllian.

Once again Alison and her expert team at Ty Elfed with their superb ‘Afternoon Teas’ were a star attraction raising around £600, along with the ever-growing Garden Railway, which Rob has put together with such expertise – including a Lifeboat, Helipad, Ski lift and Cycling Peloton et al.

New attractions at the Lifeboat Station this year were the Talus Tractor and, following successful grant applications, our new Hovercraft.

Although the Talus may seem rather large, it is a vital piece of equipment able to recover the Lifeboat from further out into the channel, plus it is equipped with a high-powered winch adding to our operational capabilities. It is fully waterproof, in fact it can be completely sealed and submerged to a depth of nine metres and then recovered at the next low tide. We expect it to give approximately twenty years of service, a great improvement on our previous agricultural tractors.

The purpose of the event is, of course, to raise funds for the continued operation of the Lifeboat (which has been involved in three search and rescue operations on one day recently). The event has raised what we believe to be the record amount of £3,270

A big thank you from the Ferryside Lifeboat Crew to all those who participated in the event.

Hope to see you at the Thirtieth Anniversary Garden Crawl.

Amazing donation from J&J Wilson Shops

We received a massive boost last week, by way of a generous donation.

A cheque for £2,500 was given to the Lifeboat by J and J Wilson Shops after they raised money from selling heritage products in their shops this year.

The cheque was presented by Sue Murphy, manager of the company’s Pendine branch, and Trish Middleton, the area manager for J and J Wilson, who said: “Our company chose the Ferryside Lifeboat to benefit from the proceeds of the sales of our Heritage Products range, as we recognise the important work that the Lifeboat does in the area.”

Trish Middleton and Sue Murphy from J and J Wilson Shops Ltd get on board the Ferryside Lifeboat to present the cheque.


In accepting the money on behalf of Ferryside Lifeboat, senior coxswain Anthony Rees said: “This is a tremendous donation which will greatly help us in maintaining the operation of the Lifeboat.

“We have had quite a busy year so far, with shouts both up river and out at sea. These have included a callout to a kayaker on a sandbank off Pendine in thick fog, a boat with two people caught on Cefn Sidan sands and a boat with engine failure on the Towy.”

“The conditions can be quite challenging, both for crew and equipment. The salt water, sea air and sand environment is very corrosive despite a regular maintenance schedule. Currently our launch tractor is in need of replacement and as an essential part of operating the Lifeboat, is our main priority.

“As an Independent Lifeboat, we are totally reliant on our own fundraising and generous donations from the public and organisations such as J and J Wilson.

“This money will go a long way in purchasing a much needed replacement tractor. We would like to express our huge thanks to them for their support and generosity which will certainly make a difference for us.”


A damp Ferryside Garden Crawl

This year, the Garden Crawl required a very necessary addition – an umbrella!

The forecast all the previous week threatened poor weather, then changed its mind and then changed it back again. However, the Lifeboat crew was delighted that large numbers of people were still willing to turn out and support our event, visiting the Gardens and seeking out our new attractions, the numerous ‘Scarecrows’ that had suddenly appeared around the village.

The rain forced the Classical Music provided by Norman and Brenda at Bronteg indoors into the village hall, where a large crowd much appreciated the performance.

Equally the Jazz from ‘Silver Swing’ at Tony and Penny’s and the Band at the White Lion had to perform indoors, but still attracted plenty of support.

The event was supported by twenty-four Gardens, which is fantastic for a village the size of Ferryside, but we would be delighted to have more next year if you are considering taking part.

A new attraction of a ‘Scarecrow’ contest suggested by Mike Bailey, proved to be a big success, with another twenty-four official entries, but almost twice as many actually appeared. Thank you to all those who made an effort to take part, there were some fantastic creations.

The voting by the Garden visitors resulted in a tie for first place between the School and the Church – though there were so many deserving prizes – seeing a Morris Minor eating a scarecrow, a Skeleton scarecrow on his bony chair, Darcy Muscle lifting her weights, Dave Coles whole collection of amusing characters, numerous Pirates and the Hippy on the corner were just a few of the highlights.

The inclement weather resulted in a high demand for refreshments and we at the Lifeboat are very grateful for the sterling efforts of the Ladies at the Village Hall (Yvonne, Rosemary and Shirley), for Alison and her expert team at Ty Elfed with their superb ‘Cream Teas’ and this year for the first time the team at Calon-y-Fferri who opened their café and allowed us to use their car park.

In addition, our thanks to Ferry Cabin, The Post Office and The shop for selling programmes.

So far the event, despite the poor weather, and with a few collecting tins to come in, has raised over £1,600. A big thank-you from the Ferryside Lifeboat Crew to all those who took part.

Ferryside Garden Crawl 2016

Now that the sun is actually showing itself, and hopefully the rain is finally having a well-deserved rest, we can at last get out in the garden. The time seems right to give advance warning of this year’s Ferryside Garden Crawl. We are hoping, with good weather that is, to hold the Crawl on Sunday June 26th at its usual time of 2pm until 6pm.

Our Garden Crawl is an annual event where local gardeners open their gardens to members of the public. Visitors can then meander through the village, taking in the flora and fauna, and enjoying some refreshments along the way.

Members of the Lifeboat crew will shortly be visiting previous participants and asking others if they would be willing to open their gardens this year.

The Garden Crawl, as you may well be aware, is a very important pillar of our fund raising activities, and provides a large percentage of the funds required for the everyday running of the Lifeboat (fuel, maintenance costs, insurance and other overheads). 

The more gardens that are open on the day the greater the attraction, and the more we raise.

In addition, this year we are planning to introduce a Scarecrow festival! This we hope will be a lot of fun with prizes for the best creations and we would like as many participating gardens, individual houses, village clubs, shops and businesses etc. to take part.

For more information about the Scarecrow Festival, please contact Mike Bailey at Cliff Lea, Tel: 268098 or [email protected].

If you are willing to open your garden  (and we really would like more residents to join us in the efforts to ensure the continued presence of a Lifeboat  in Ferryside),  please contact David Martin at 1 Caradog Court, Tel: 267039 or [email protected].

The Silver Jubilee Garden Crawl June 9th 2013

History of the Garden Crawl

The first garden crawl was in June 1989. It was started by the late Bunny Kessell, of Hall Terrace, with a logo of poppies painted in watercolours by the late Dr. Ruth Kemp of Pontantwn, a logo still used to this day. In that first year there were just seven gardens, but they tended to be the larger and more mature ones. Programmes and posters were hand written by Bunny, photocopied and delivered around the area by a conscripted Bean obeying orders. Bunny ran it for some years and retained a watching brief even when allowing her protégé to do the donkey work.

Over the last 25 years (1989 – 2013) there have been more than 50 gardens that have offered themselves for viewing, and in one year alone there were 24 gardens open. Just once we had to cancel due to the foot and mouth epidemic when four of our venues involved working farms.

Thank to villagers and visitors thousands of pounds has been raised for the lifeboat, although in one year the proceeds went towards developing the children’s play park.

We also owe a debt of gratitude to Nerys, and the late, Dave Pearson of Whitethorn Nurseries for many years of sponsorship; and lattely to John and Josie Cavill of the Three Rivers Hotel for their continuing sponsorship to the present.

Recently some gardeners have set up various stalls to increase fundraising and to create more of an attraction, and the Ferryside Jazz Band have provided “entertainment” for a number of years.

We at Ferryside Lifeboat thank all who have supported this worthy cause over the last 25 years. Here’s to the next…

Garden Crawl
Silver Jubilee Year


Ferryside Strongman

Sunday 5th May saw the annual Ferryside Strongman competition. Luckily the weather was good this year and we saw a strong turn out in the crowd. Six strong men entered altogether and cheered by the crowd they ploughed through the six events. The day was a huge success and raised over £300 for the lifeboat. Congratulations to Richard Holmes of Cynwyl Elfed who proved to be the strongest man. Not only did he win the competition but he also donated his prize money to the Ferryside Lifeboat. Many thanks Richard for this kind gesture.

Photographs below:

Tyre lift
Tyre lift


Barrel Toss
Barrel Toss
Chain Pull
Chain Pull
Suspicious Line Up
Suspicious Line Up
Senior Coxswain Anthony Rees - not a very strong man!
Senior Coxswain Anthony Rees – not a very strong man!

Spring News

The good weather finally seems to have come to this part of West Wales and the Ferryside Lifeboat crew are pleased to announce that we have not yet been called out this year. Despite this we please ask you to check the weather and tide tables before you venture out on the sea or for a walk along the sands. they can both be checked form this website at any time.

As the Summer approaches we will be arranging more fundraising opportunities that offer a chance for everyone to get involved and have a fun day out. The Strongman competition is coming up next this weekend. We also have some particularly notable events with the 25th Annual Garden Crawl this year. As it’s a special occasion there will be extra attractions on display so watch this space. We are also pleased to announce that we are hosting the Welsh Open Water Estuary Challenge, the only one of its kind in Wales, possibly the UK. We will keep updating the website as other events are arranged.

Next up we hope to give you the details for this year’s GlastonFferi event.

Ferryside Strong Man Competition

The annual Strong Man competition is happening again this weekend in Ferryside. This year there’s more prize money so we should be seeing a few more strong men entering.

It’s all happening at the Ferryside Sports and Social Club on Sunday 5th May at 4pm.

Prize money so far should be at least £150 for first prize, there will be second and third prizes available.

Thank you to the kind benefactors who have put up the prize money this year.

As usual the Ferryside Lifeboat will be fielding strong men of their own. This year though there will be a bit of a difference! Come along and find out.

Strong Man
Strong Man

As usual, many thanks to Jacko from the club for arranging this and offering continued support to the lifeboat.

Ferryside Lifeboat Annual New Years Day Dip 2013

It’s nearly Christmas and it’s time to advertise the annual New Years Day Dip. We are especially pleased to note the cold weather at the moment so it looks like this year is going to be a very cold dip.

Lifeboat Swim 2013
Lifeboat Swim 2013

As usual you can expect some of the crew members to be dressed up and probably not looking their finest.

Please come along and join in the fun. It’s 12.00 sharp, at the Foreshore in Ferryside, outside the Lifeboat Station.

We promise Andy won’t wear his mankini….

Andy in his mankini
Andy in his mankini

Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim

We are pleased to announce that we will be running our annual ‘Big Swim’ again in 2013. The swim, started three years ago by Coxswain James Littlejohns, has grown from strength to strength. So much so that next year we are renaming it the Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim.

Please click on the ‘Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim’ link in the sidebar on the left for more details. Application packs will be available to download from that page soon.

Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim

Ferryside Lifeboat Autumn Show

We are pleased to announce that our annual Autumn Show will be held at the Three Rivers Hotel and Spa on Saturday October 24th 2012.

As usual we have free food provided by the Three Rivers who have been great supporters of the lifeboat over the years. We will also have musical entertainment from Marc Davies who will be performing a range of hits live. All to be followed by a DJ for the rest of the evening.

Tickets are £7.50 and that includes all the food an entertainment. Bargain! Remember every penny raised goes directly to the lifeboat.

marc tribute poster
Marc Davies

It’s going to be a great night. Hope to see you there.


Big Swim 2012

Saturday 11th August, one of the few that’s felt like a real summer day, saw the successful completion of another ‘Big Swim’ to Llansteffan and back in support of the Ferryside Lifeboat. This is a serious and challenging open water swim event covering a distance of 2 kilometers and marked out by 3 buoys across the Towy estuary.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 1

Fifteen hardy souls braved what appeared to be relatively favourable weather, but the calm on the Ferryside shoreline was deceptive with choppy conditions near LLansteffan and the increasing Easterly breeze making the return leg much harder work. Every swimmer looked tired and relieved to make it back to shore. To minimize the impact of the tide, they set out at 1pm, with the first returning in just over twenty-two minutes and all back before 2pm.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 2

Safety is paramount and there was a great deal of advanced organisation to try to cover all eventualities, and to provide full support for the swimmers at all stages of their swim. A team of kayakers from Gwendraeth Valley Paddlers provided close support and direct communications to the swimmers, with four volunteer boats, each carrying a member of the lifeboat crew and a diver from the Carmarthen Bay Divers as the next line forming a safe corridor there and back for those in the water. Two high-speed boats were stationed to head off and intercept any other craft that might have inadvertently strayed towards the line of swimmers and further members of the lifeboat crew were positioned to keep an overall watchful view and on the beaches.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 3

Despite all the planning, events can confound and the lifeboat was called out late morning in support of the rescue of seven persons trapped on mud banks at Laugharne, highlighting the very reason why the Big Swim was taking place.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 4

However the event was still able to start on time, with 14 swimmers taking to the water moments before a cannon fired from the foreshore – the final swimmer turned out to be slightly delayed changing and gamely joined the others four minutes after the start and headed off after them.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 5

Hoards of onlookers crowded the shoreline near where the swimmers set out and cheered each one as they returned home – the first swimmer back was even greeted in the water by a frequent visitor to the beach in Ferryside, a friendly dog!

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 6

Festivities ensued afterwards in typical Ferryside summer fashion with a barbeque outside the yacht club and two bars staffed inside with the kitchen supplementing the regular bar to help it all run smoothly. The whole event was rounded off with music from Runaway Brian and Jon & Matt and a raffle of donated prizes again in support of the Ferryside lifeboat.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 7

Thanks to all for their support in making this such a fun, exhausting, charitable and above all, safe, event.

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 9

Ferryside Big Swim 2012 8

Ferryside Lifeboat Needs You

It’s nice to see the weather warming up a bit and on the odd day we’ve even seen a bit of sun! As Summer approaches we get a lot busier with events, fundraisers, and those that help others. We also see an increase in the number of times that the lifeboat is called upon.

We would be very grateful if any of you out there could spare some time to help us with our fundraising activities. Anything you can contribute will be gratefully received. Please take a look at the poster below.

We Need You
Ferryside Lifeboat Needs You!