Christmas dip for Rescue unit to raise much needed funds
WHILE most of us were getting ready to tuck into Christmas lunch members of the Mallow Search and Rescue Unit were braving the frigid waters of the River Blackwater for their annual festive fundraising swim.
As the unit receives no government funding, the event is one of the most important on its calendar, raising up to €2,500 towards its running costs for the ensuing year.
Unit chairman John Woulfe said once again the people of Mallow came out in force to support the event.
"The river was running quite high and fast so we only had 10 members in the water. There were a lot of people lining the route from the Ten Arches Bridge cheering the lads on, which was great to see," said John.
"I can tell you that by the time the swimmers reached Mallow they were ready for a warm drink and some turkey," he laughed.
John said the money raised will be put to good use, upgrading existing equipment and buying new items.
"It costs us in the region of €45,000 each year to run the unit so there is always something to spend the money on. We have to be ready to go to a call out at short notice, so it is important that all of our equipment is well maintained and serviceable," said John.
"The generosity of the people of Mallow through events such as this means we are in a position to help out the emergency services when tasked to do so."
One issue that the unit hopes to see addressed over the coming months is the issue of VAT charged on the purchases of life saving equipment.
John said that almost a quarter of all the monies they raise annually goes back into the State's coffers in the form of VAT on purchases.
This equates to more than €10,000 each year, money that could be used to fund the purchase of vital equipment.
"We have petitioned the government about this and are hoping they will reverse this ridiculous situation during 2014. It is something that units such us across the country will be keeping a close eye on over the coming months," said John.