Ever since Ossie Morgan, Headmaster of Tenby County Primary School, acquired the hotel with his wife Helen back in 1946, Fourcroft has been inextricably linked with the town of Tenby & its various communities.
Frustrated by the closure & subsequent demolition of Tenby’s last cinema, Anne Draper and Val Coates Rees (from Tenby Arts Club) approached Kath & Chris Osborne (from Fourcroft) to see if films could be shown monthly at the hotel. The result is “Films4Tenby“, a community solution to a filmic challenge. Now a mixture of recent & classic films are shown twice a month, throughout the year, and the film experience is embellished by a pre-show supper and cocktails themed to the film’s features.
A later, additional solution came in the form of a pop up film festival, using a wide & varied range of venues showing films with special relevance to the venues. These included two showings of Edge of Love (about Dylan Thomas’s stormy relationships with women) in the actual room – in a house in Tenby’s Lexden Terrace – where it was filmed; Shakespeare in Love in the Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby’s oldest building; The Fog in one of Tenby’s former lifeboat houses, immediately adjacent to the Castle Beach and its incoming tide; and The Shining in Fourcroft Hotel – well, it had to be. The result is the pop up cinema movement “Rooms with a View“.
The hotel holds a Jazz Brunch in Ossie Morgan’s restaurant once a month. The artists are from near and far and can be old favourites or up-coming stars. It is £13.00 per person for a 2 course meal, which is served between noon and 3:00pm. It has been a popular event since 2002.
Tenby Blues Festival grew from an idea that popped into two heads at the same moment. The heads belonged to Declan Connolly and Chris Osborne, an arts promoter and hotelier, respectively. Years previously Fourcroft Hotel had been presenting a winter weekend ‘Fes ty Fal’ featuring quirky and original acts such as The Splott Brothers and Green Ginger Microtheatre.
Declan had been the director of the Narberth based community arts organization Span Arts that had presented the Narberth Children’s Festival through the 1990’s.
These two would often discuss the idea of starting a blues festival as a fantasy plan that eventually took shape in 2006 when several potential sponsors responded to a Tenby festival that would attempt to create an event that would enliven the beautiful old seaside town in the winter when the normal visitors had gone home.
FBM Holidays, Pembrokeshire Tourism and The Milford Haven oil refinery of Texaco all agreed to help and it became a reality with the participation of the De Valence Trust in 2006.
The first festival in 2006 featured Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes, The John O’Leary Band and Eddie Martin among many other bands and soloists both national, International and local. In addition to performances both main stage and in venues around the town, there was an exhibition of blues pictures, talks, and workshops. This format has served well until the present.
The Hotel has been a key contributor to the event, providing accommodation and catering for the artists, and becoming one of the main Blues Trail and Late Night venues.
Tenby Boxing Day Swim, started in 1970, has snowballed into Tenby’s main Christmas attraction with around 600 swimmers and thousands of onlookers each year; this fantastic spectacle is not to be missed. With everyone swimming for charity, and the majority in fancy dress, Boxing Day in Tenby is a sure-fire way to carry on the fun at Christmas. A roaring bonfire greets the emerging swimmers and every one of them receives a medal for their bravery. Soup & mulled wine, provided by Tenby & Saundersfoot Lions, adds warmth to the occasion.
Started by Tenby Sea Swimming Association, (TSSA), the Osborne family has been associated with the spectacle from the beginning and Chris Osborne, chairman of TSSA, has seen the event take place in every weather condition, from brilliant sunshine to freezing wind-chill. And he said that each year, the organisers never fail to be amazed by its growing success and popularity.
The Caldey Swim started years ago, when they used to swim cattle from Caldey to Tenby. The mural in Tenby Market shows this. In the 70s, local youngsters started to swim to Caldey. The summers were warmer then and there was not much for local children to do but swim and play on the beach while their parents worked. Around this time a local man called Bill Parcell who was courting the lighthouse keeper’s daughter and to impress her, he swam across. The first time he swam he didn’t allow for the tides in front of Caldey so he wound up on the rocks. In subsequent swims he swam the perfect course. Bill also advised local youngsters and the young Johnny John who swam across in 48 minutes, no mean feat for a 16 yr. old. The Caldey Boats take 20 minutes.
In the 1990s a local man, John Rees, returned to live in Tenby and with his wife Val and Mick Brown set about finding out about doing this swim again. There were people to ask for information and advice, if you knew where to find them and they were happy to share their stories. They were the youngsters from the 70s now grown up. Another man with useful information to share was Mickey Wilson, whose task was to swim out from the lifeboat to people in distress to fasten a line. Alan Thomas, who ran the Caldey Boat, also knows the local waters well.
On 1st September 2013 all 47 swimmers completed the course in calm conditions.
Ironman has been run in Tenby for the past three years. In 2013 some 1,675 athletes from 40 countries, including 90 from Pembrokeshire, travelled to pit themselves against the tri-sport strength-sapping challenge of the Ironman Wales event.
The hotel is a preferred supplier with Nirvana and hosts the VIP breakfast in the front gardens on the morning of the competition.
Pembrokeshire plays host annually to one of the most difficult triathlons in Wales – the Long Course Weekend. This unique event lasts three days in mid-July, accommodating some of the best triathlon talent in the UK and the world, including a number of IRONMAN UK athletes, serving as the perfect preparation and build up to the IRONMAN Wales event in September.
To kick-off the weekend on Friday evening, the Long Course athletes have The Wales Swim to complete – a 2.4 mile swim that takes place on Tenby’s North Beach. On Saturday their attention turns to The Wales Sportive, and 112 miles of undulating Welsh countryside lined with enthusiastic crowds. To finish the weekend, the athletes have the small task of completing the 26.2 miles of The Wales Marathon, which is quickly establishing itself as a fantastic event in its own right.
More than 7,000 competitors have attempted the difficult terrain and challenging weather conditions on this punishing route since its first race in 2010.
Of last year’s 200 Long Course Weekend athletes, only around half could manage to cross the finish line and collect the final piece of the event’s unique medal design.
The Tenby Chamber of Trade & Tourism has been holding their monthly meetings at the Hotel since 2010. Chris Osborne is the current President of the Chamber. It holds monthly meetings at the hotel and has been an integral part of the town’s economic success.
On Tuesday the 16th February 2010, Tenby witnessed it’s first ever Pancake Race. Taking place at 12 noon from Tudor square, participants took part in a 60-metre dash whilst tossing their pancakes! Participants were asked to bring their own frying pan and pancake and would be watched as they attempted to flip the pancake once every ten meters.
The winner was declared as the participant to cross the finish line quickest, after completing all flips and still having their pancake intact! Sponsorship was in aid of Tenby R.N.L.I.
Organisers,which included Fourcroft’s Jo Thomas (it was her idea) hoped that both young and old, professional and amateurs would join to make the event a real success.
Continuing the Pancake madness, Fourcroft Hotel invited members of the public to further show their support for Tenby R.N.L.I. by attending a ‘Pancake Dinner’ hosted during the evening. Admission was £10 per person and attendees would sit down to a two course ‘pancake meal’ at 7pm in the Hotel’s Ossie Morgan’s Restaurant.
2014 will see the 4th Pancake race to be held in Tenby, which has seen it grow from strength to strength.