No matter where you live there are certain unmistakable characters who make a place unique.
From the familiar faces you see when taking a trip to the city centre or the regulars you see in your local pub there are certain people who may not be known outside of their own area but are legends to the people who live within it. And it’s no different in Swansea.
We’ve profiled some of the city’s most colourful characters who are all famous in their own right.
Dressed from head to toe in all sorts of regalia, from Christmas tree decorations to traffic cones, with a pink dyed beard and matching wig to boot, he is one of the city’s most flamboyant and colourful characters.
Known only as Tam, the 46-year-old has built up quite the reputation around town for his most unusual and fantastic outfits he wears on a daily basis.
From early in the morning until late in the afternoon he walks from his home in Sketty through the streets of the city and brings a smile to faces not only with his fancy dress but his friendly demeanour, jokes, and spontaneous dancing.
You can read his story, and his unexpected background, here.
Strolling into your local pub at the usual times wearing a long white jacket and clutching a wicker basket filled with fresh food and crisps, Eric Payne is an unusual yet familiar sight to most.
In fact most punters in the know don’t bat an eyelid at being offered the chance of buying some fresh cockles or a Pepperami at 9pm or 10pm at night. But for someone who may not have seen Eric before it may come across as quite an unusual to say the least.
At night he will travel around Swansea and visit pub after pub offering punters their choice of cockles, muscles, prawn cocktail, crab sticks, onion bhajis, chicken bites, Pepperamis, crisps and chocolate.
Here’s the full story on why he does it.
The Landore Wizard
Clive Ayres is a familiar face around the city, travelling with his keyboard to bring that traditional sound to community centres, nursing homes, charity shops, and the likes of Matt’s café.
He’s known as The Landore Wizard – a nickname that was given to him at one of his first performances and has stuck ever since.
The 74-year-old sports a shirt and tie and a black jumper with the words ‘Clive Ayres Landore Wizard’.
His musical passion started from an early age at his family home in Jersey Street, Hafod, where he still lives to this day.
His family had a piano and when he turned a little bit older he acquired an organ and the rest is history.
Read all about the Landore Wizard in our special feature.
Veteran fundraiser Margaret Thrush likes nothing better than taking off her trademark sombrero and putting her feet up in the front room of her home in Mumbles after a hard night of collecting for charity.
The walls are covered with medals, certificates, and letters of thanks from the likes of film stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, musicians including Mal Pope, and the heads of various charities for whom she has helped to raise a total of almost £1m during the past 50 years.
Margaret began collecting for charity when she was just a teenager and has not stopped. Underneath her orange sombrero and dressed in shorts whatever the weather she is a familiar figure in the seaside community of Mumbles.
Margaret walks from home in Newton Road visiting the many seafront pubs in Mumbles with her collecting tins at least four nights a week.
She has raised money for many charitable causes through the years including Macmillan Cancer Support, for which she has raised £293,000.
Tea Cosy Pete
Tea Cosy Pete once walked the streets of Swansea never bothering anyone but just living his life as best he could.
Also known as Teabag, he went to the same school as former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – Dynevor Grammar School in Swansea.
He hit the headlines in the 1990, after walking 12 miles from Swansea’s city centre to Kittle in Gower to return a wallet containing a large amount of money to a man who had lost it the previous evening. He declined the £100 reward offered.
Known because of the large woolly hat he wore for decades, Tea Cosy Pete refused all offers of housing and did not sign in to shelters or other accommodation using his real name.
He was popular with people in Swansea because he never begged and was never seen drunk and would often engage in articulate conversation with people visiting the city for a night out. He would even often be seen picking up litter off the streets in the city centre.
When he collapsed and died in January 2015 in the city’s Castle Square there was an outpouring of grief for the unassuming 66-year-old.
More than 100 people, including Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart, attended his funeral – such was the respect for the man whose real name was Brian Boswell, although he was schooled in Swansea under the name Brian Burford.
Read his full fascinating story here.