Brave bathers from Skanda Vale have been raising money for charity by joining in one of Britain’s top festive highlights.

The 43rd Tenby Boxing Day Swim, this year featuring a fancy dress theme of pantomime, attracted over 550 dippers from all over the UK and beyond.

Among them were more than 30 staff and supporters of Skanda Vale Hospice, near Llandysul, who raised more than £1,500 towards its £2m project to build a new six-bed roomed inpatient hospice.

It is hoped that work will start this summer.

Skanda Vale spokesman Elliot Muir said: “The service will be offered completely free of charge.

“Two hospice services in west Wales have closed in the last year due to lack of funding, leaving a critical gap that our new service will help to fill. We are ideally located to serve the people of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.”

The hospice project is one of four good causes nominated by the swim organisers, Tenby Sea Swimming Association, and so will receive a share of the swim’s £1,540 bucket collection and the sponsor money from bathers collecting for TSSA charities.

The swim, on Tenby’s North Beach ,was fortunate to take place under blue skies and sunshine, with the sea temperature a mild 10 degrees C.

A warming bonfire and commemorative medals greeted the swimmers as they emerged from the water and TSSA chairman Chris Osborne said: “It’s been another great swim, with glorious weather creating ideal conditions.

“We’ve seen some highly entertaining costumes and it’s been a brilliant morning for everyone - including, we hope, all the charities who will benefit.”