Garryvoe Hotel “Swim to Swansea” cheque presented to Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat station

Garryvoe Hotel management, lifeboat fundraising committee

Garryvoe Hotel management, lifeboat fundraising committee

Ever wonder how far it is from Cork to Swansea? Staff at the 4 star Garryvoe Hotel, on the shore of Ballycotton Bay in East Cork, decided to run a fundraising event that would cover the distance to raise funds for their local RNLI lifeboat station across the bay in Ballycotton.

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Ballycotton fundraising committee, Garryvoe Hotel management

Ballycotton fundraising committee, Garryvoe Hotel management

Proposals were put forward and the idea of Swimming to Swansea was born. It is approx. 314 kms from Cork to Swansea and the organisers wondered if they could cover the distance in 24 hours. Those taking part quickly realised that if this mammoth task was to succeed they would need some help. Posters were put up in the hotel leisure centre looking for volunteers. Leisure centre members interested in taking part were encouraged to take sponsorship cards.

On Saturday, 23 July 2011, at 8am, a team of 25 swimmers started a relay swim in the Garryvoe hotel leisure centre swimming pool. Their aim was to swim 80 kms in 12 hours. When the swimmers were finished their part of the swim they were presented with a bag with fruit and bottled water, sponsored by the Village Greengrocer in Castlemartyr.

Nuala Cashman, Fiona Flynn, Ciara Mitchell

Nuala Cashman, Fiona Flynn, Ciara Mitchell

The second part of the fundraising event was to row the balance of the distance, i.e. 234 kms. Approaches were made to the Fastnet Line, who kindly agreed to sponsor the return trip for the fundraising team and provided a cabin to rest in between rowing. At 6pm on the 23rd a team of 9 rowers took a bus from the Garryvoe Hotel to Ringaskiddy to catch the Fastnet Line ferry to Swansea. They brought three rowing machines with them. Two came from the Garryvoe Hotel leisure centre and a third was provided by T&T Fitness.

The 9 rowers formed three teams of 3 and commenced rowing on deck in relays. They rowed from Cork to Swansea. While one team was rowing the others rested in the cabin provided by the Fastnet Line. To ensure the fundraisers got the best support possible, and raised as much money for Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat as they could, regular announcements were made throughout the ship encouraging travellers to visit the rowers and offer their support. RNLI lifeboat collection buckets were placed close to the rowing machines and passengers dropped money into them to help with the sponsorship effort.

The weary but delighted team of swimmers and rowers completed their 314 kms task. In January 2012, when all funds were counted, Stephen Belton, General Manager, and staff at Garryvoe Hotel presented a cheque for €3,500 to members of the Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat fundraising committee. Mr. Belton related that the staff at Garryvoe Hotel were delighted to support this local charity. Committee Chairman, Fiona Flynn, said the funds raised by the Garryvoe Hotel and Leisure Centre staff and members would go towards on-going training of lifeboat crew. Ms Flynn thanked them for their efforts and explained how much it is appreciated by all involved at Ballycotton RNL lifeboat station.

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