John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales



TENBY OBSERVER: "Tenby Lifeboat Station launch for new book ... recalls her memories of growing up in Tenby during the 1930s and 1940s ... tells of an almost idyllic 'Swallows and Amazons' childhood surrounded by woodland and sea ... does not baulk at outlining the social deprivations endured at the time ... exploring themes rather than any strict chronology ... pays tribute to the brave men who have crewed Tenby's lifeboats over the years ... informative both in a social and historical context ... one can almost imagine Avis sitting opposite you reliving the days"


WESTERN TELEGRAPH : "Tenby lifeboat-man's daughter Avis Nixon has entwined her nostalgic memories of Tenby with many aspects of the area's history ... an intensely personal project and one which is clearly written from the heart ... one of seven children of the late Alfred Cottam who was mechanic of the Tenby lifeboat from 1933 to 1948 ... warm memories of Tenby and its personalities in the 1930s and wartime ... notable rescues by Tenby lifeboatmen"


WELSH BOOKS COUNCIL : "The memoirs of Avis Nixon (neé Cottam), being a tribute to Tenby, comprising accounts of family poverty in London, colourful childhood experiences in Tenby where her father was a Lifeboat crew member during World War 2, stories about crew members, a lifeboat rescue, local customs, fairs, circuses and gypsies before a return to England following the separation of her parents." "Atgofion Avis Nixon (Cottam gynt), sy'n deyrnged i Ddinbych-y- pysgod, yn cynnwys cofnod o dlodi teuluol yn Llundain, profiadau lliwgar a thyner plentyn yn Ninbych-y-pysgod lle roedd ei thad yn aelod o griw'r Bad Achub yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd, hanesion am aelodau'r criw, arferion lleol, ffeiriau, syrcas a sipsiwn cyn dychwelyd i Loegr pan wahanodd ei rhieni."


TENBY OBSERVER [23rd July 2004]:

Tenby Author's invite to Welsh Assembly at Cardiff Bay

"At the invitation of Rosemary Butler AM, Chair of the Welsh Assembly's Culture Committee, local author Avis Nixon recently visited Cardiff Bay to represent John Fish Publishers at a presentation of the Assembly's report into English Language Publishing in Wales.

The report has now been finalised and can be read at Public Libraries or online on the Assembly's website at

Although small-scale by international standards, English Language Publishing in Wales is thriving with new books constantly being added to the catalogue. The industry is primarily private sector with a public sector presence through the academic press of the University of Wales.

As with the Tourist Industry, a governmental organisation is central to the infrastructure of the industry. A body known as the Welsh Books Council performing an analogous role to that of the Wales Tourist Board.

The Welsh Books Council performs a number of functions including maintaining an up-to-date catalogue of Welsh books, a book distribution service to bookshops and an online bookshop for public use. Its website is at

Avis Nixon performs fundraising for Tenby RNLI and regularly gives talks to local societies and organisations based on her book "A Tenby Lifeboat Family" which was published in a "Star of Pembrokeshire Series Paperbacks" edition by John Fish Publishers of Tenby.

Her two most popular talks concern: The rescue of the crew of the Fermanagh steamship in 1938 by the Tenby Lifeboat which resulted in her father, Alfred Cottam, receiving the RNLI's bronze medal for bravery; In the Pembroke Dock area the chapter of her book concerning Pembroke Dock during the German bombing of World War Two often brings backs memories for the senior members of her audience.

At a recent talk Avis was recounting a conversation which took place in 1946, in Palestine, between a German and British officer. On learning that the Briton was from Pembroke Dock the German volunteered the information that he had led the air-raid on the oil tanks in 1940. The British Officer was Colonel Tom Powell and a lady in the audience astonished Avis with the revelation that he was her uncle!

"A Tenby Lifeboat Family" is available from outlets throughout Pembrokeshire including in Tenby the souvenir shop at the Lifeboat Station and the Cofion Bookshop (opposite the Tudor Merchant's house)."


TENBY TIMES [November 2004]:

Honour for local poet - and for Tenby

Congratulations to Avis Nixon, the Tenby born author and poet, still living locally, whose work has been selected for inclusion in the anthology Daily Reflections 2005.

Triumph House (an imprint of Forward Press Ltd) has been publishing uplifting and inspirational poetry for the last 10 years. In August, the Tenby Observer printed an appeal for contributions for their forthcoming anthology and have been informed that the response was "overwhelming." The appeal was in the form of a competition, with a total of £10,000 in cash awards for writers.

It is a special honour for Tenby that the poem chosen from Avis' work, Tenby Winter Moonlight, speaks of the beauty of the town, its cliffs, sand and caves:


Tenby Winter Moonlight
Avis Nixon


The crisp moon, shining on the snow

Set our small town aglow

Giving back into the night

An equal shining light


The tips of the waves

As they gently swept the caves

Carried jewels bright

On this cold winter's night


The moonlight, its beauty to unfold

Turned the sea into a sheet of gold

And with its magician's hand

Caressed the soft ochre sand


Gifts from God we bring

To this small town

Dressed overall in your white gown

Gifts fit for a king

The majestic cliffs, with crowns of white

Stood in homage at this sight

Proud, dark and strong

Guarding their domain, ere Long.


Avis' poem was one of 365 chosen: one for each day of the year. The publishers admitted that the choice was made harder by the high quality of all the submissions, and explained their final choices as: "those authors who were able to express a message, give direction to others and, above all, inspire."

The achievement is another milestone in a successful year for Avis, who in March received a commendation at the Welsh Assembly for her contribution to Welsh literature with her book A Tenby Lifeboat Family, published in Tenby by John Fish Publishers.


TENBY OBSERVER [31st March 2006]:

Book Launch Success

Tenby born author and poet Avis Nixon (née Cottam), offically launched her second book on the history of Tenby Lifeboat titled Tenby Lifeboat in Victorian Times last Thursday night at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery.

The book is a personalised account of Tenby town and seafaring days in the I800s told through the eyes of one of the most talented townswomen Fanny Price Gwynne.

The author resurrects Fanny Price Gwynne to take her place in our affections and gain credit for her life of devoted service to her beloved Tenby.

Avis has dedicated the book to all Tenby lifeboatmen, past, present and future, and to the memory of Mr Hedley George Smith, who kindly gave her the historical work concerning Tenby lifeboats earliest days when he bought a copy of her first book at its booklaunch at Tenby's old lifeboat house in 2000.

Signed first editions are £7 with profits to Tenby Lifeboat Station and Tenby Museum.


TENBY OBSERVER [26th May 2006]:

Happy Memories

Tenby exile Liz Jones writes from Australia: I have just been reading Avis Nixon’s book “A Tenby Lifeboat Family” and found it so nostalgic, but also very humorous, in fact it took me ages to read it as it was so enthralling, and took me back a few years into my childhood when I lived in Tenby.

I have been living in Australia for the last 32 years but love to keep in touch as to what is happening in my dear old town of Tenby. My uncle Bing Jones, used to do the harbour boats to Caldey. My Dad, who is now deceased, was Dennis Jones and my aunts Dot and Diana, uncles John (Boney) and Kenny.

Tenby exile Tony Dickinson (brother of Tenby Observer editor Neil Dickinson) was my best man at my wedding when I was then married to Ken Crockford, Donny Crockford’s son. Donny being Ivor Crockford’s brother. But I am now divorced from Ken and remarried so am now Liz Gurnick.

I still keep in touch with Tony on a very regular basis, we are both Tenby born and bred, and nobody can take that away from us. I think that we both love Australia but worship our hometown Tenby, the most beautiful place in the world. I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Tony lives near Melbourne, Victoria, exactly one thousand miles away from me.

Avis Nixon reports: With the publication of my new book “Tenby Lifeboat in Victorian Times” I am finding a renewed interest in my previous book “A Tenby Lifeboat Family”. With bookings for my Tenby RNLI fundraising talks being taken up to July of next year.