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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.

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.

New Year’s Day Dip 2014

A big thank you to all who braved the gales and driving rain and came along to our annual New Year’s Day Dip at the foreshore. It was a bit of a mud run with the tide fully out but great fun as usual.

Below is a picture of the brave fools who went in again this year, wearing lederhosen in honour of our newest Coxswain. Thanks everyone!

Dip 2014
New Year’s Day Dip 2014

Welsh Open Water Estuary Swim Roundup

We are just finalising the photos from the day and the unofficial times of swimmers. We hope to be able to have everything ready by the end of the weekend and we promise that we will have news up on the website as soon as possible. Photos also coming soon.

The swim was a huge success. A bug Thank You to all who took part either in entering the swim or in the organisation of the event. It is an event that grows each year and we owe an especially big Thank You to James Littlejohns who has tirelessly organised this successful event anually.

Also keep a look out as we hope to move the Welsh open Water Estuary Swim to its own website very soon.

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!

New Years Day Dip – Update

We are pleased to announce that the annual New Years Day Dip is going from strength to strength. A big thank you to all the new faces who turned up this year as well as all the regular supporters of the lifeboat.

Coxswains Andy Morgan, Mike Hackfort and Mike Utting looking cold!
Coxswains Andy Morgan, Mike Hackfort and Mike Utting looking cold!

It was a very cold day and a longer run to the sea this year but that didn’t stop a number of brave and foolhardy souls from jumping in. We are still waiting for more pictures to come in but to see a short video of the action just click here.

Also a big thank you to the River Towy Yacht Club for allowing the event to run in front of the premises and for being so hospitable on the day.



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

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.


Visit by Jonathan Edwards MP

Sunday 21st October 2012 saw Mr. Jonathan Edwards MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. We were very pleased to be able to show Mr. Edwards the work that we do here in Ferryside and we thank him for the support that he has offered us.

JonEdwardsMP Ferryside Lifeboat

Mr. Edwards later tweeted “Profiad bythgofiadwy ar bad achub glanyfferi ym mae caerfyrddin. Unforgettable experience on ferryside lifeboat in carmarthen bay” You can follow Mr. Edwards on @JonathanPlaid.

Naming Ceremony and Service of Dedication of the Ferryside Lifeboat

Saturday the 1st September 2012 saw the naming ceremony and service of dedication of the Ferryside Lifeboat.

The service dedications were led by the Regional Chaplain of Carmarthenshire St. John Cymru assisted by the Reverend Phillip Jones.

Launch 9 Lifeboat
The service was conducted in front of the new Boat House

Mr. Dan Clayton-Jones OBE, Prior of St. John Cymru opened proceedings with the national anthems. Mr. Brian Hilling, Deputy Grand Master of the Province of West Wales Freemasons then handed the lifeboat to Mr. Dan Clayton-Jones who accepted it on behalf of St. John Cymru.

Launch 13 Lifeboat
The handing over of the Lifeboat
Launch 11 Lifeboat
The lifeboat is named “The Freemason”

Mr. Dan Clayton-Jones proposed a vote of thanks and handed the Lifeboat into the care of the Ferryside Marine Division. Mr. Anthony Rees, Acting Senior Coxswain, accepted the boat on behalf of Ferryside Marine Division. The proceedings were then closed by Mr. Mark Kessell, Divisional Officer in Charge, who also presented a number of certificates to thank local members of the community for all the invaluable support that they have provided over the years.

Launch 8 Lifeboat
Some of the crew in the new personal protective equipment

The Lifeboat was then launched in front of the the boat house and a brief demonstration of its capabilities was conducted by Anthony Rees (Acting Senior Coxswain), Mike Hackfort (Senior Crew) and Simon Lamble (Crew).

Ferryside Lifeboat Launch Day
The crew demonstrating the new lifeboat’s capabilities.

We should like to thank the Carmarthen Symphonic Wind Band, conducted by Chris Potter, who provided the music on the day.

Launch 17 Lifeboat
The Carmarthen Symphonic Wind Band



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

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Hi everyone! Just to let all our followers know that the Coracle Theatre Project will be holding a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in Ferryside on April 15th in aid of Ferryside Lifeboat. Performance will start at 2pm on the Foreshore and will be free to attend (with suggested donations to the lifeboat of £2 per person).

Mike Hackfort

Shakespeare on the foreshore
Shakespeare on the foreshore