Campaigners recall the battle for their beach
IT’S remembered as a classic people versus the state battle.
It’s 50 years now since the historic Save our Sands campaign in Pembrey.
The campaign was a great example of people power – and saved Pembrey and Cefn Sidan beach for posterity.
Celebrations have included a SOS 50 Garden Party at Ty Gwyn, The Links, Pembrey.
It provided an occasion for campaigners to get together and recall the battle to Save Cefn Sidan Sands – and it served to provide a history lesson for future generations, to educate them on the battle to save the beach.
In 1969, the communities of Burry Port and Pembrey commenced a David v Goliath battle against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to prevent it from relocating the Shoeburyness gunnery range (which had to be relocated due to the proposal to build a third London airport), from Essex to the range it owned at Pembrey.
This would turn the area lying between Cefn Sidan and Kidwelly into a huge gunnery range, shooting missiles into towards Gower.
The implications of such a plan would jeopardise the lives and livelihoods of the residents of Carmarthen Bay from Gower to south Pembrokeshire.
From the 1940s to 1960s the state and its institutions had commandeered Welsh land and uprooted community after community from the mountains of Merionyddshire to the uplands of Breconshire.
This was not going to happen here.
The residents of Burry Port and Pembrey fought the project with direct action and hard campaigning, invoking the spirit of their fearsome wrecker ancestors, the Little Hatchet Men.
This was a fight undertaken by people of all ages and the women were crucial to its success, as so many of the menfolk were working shifts in the region’s heavy industries.
If this battle had been lost, Pembrey Country Park and Cefn Sidan would not exist as we know it today. the sea
Guests at the anniversary tea for the Pembrey Save Our Sands campaign.