Donations surge after tragic death of channel swimmer
THE two charities tragic swimmer Paraic Casey was raising money for were inundated with donations yesterday.
St Vincent de Paul and Marymount Hospice received money from people moved by the death of Mr Casey (45), who died within sight of the French coast, in his bid to swim the English Channel.
Mr Casey, from Passage West in Cork, was just 1km from the shore when he suddenly fell ill at 3am on Sunday and had to be taken from the sea into his support boat, Pace Arrow.
Efforts to stabilise his condition failed and he was pronounced dead before he could be airlifted to hospital.
Mr Casey's wife, Riana Parsons-Casey, was in the support boat when he was taken from the sea.
Yesterday, donations flooded in to Mr Casey's charity page. More than 90 donations totalling almost €3,000 were made in just four hours -- and were continuing last night.
Friend Catriona McCabe posted on the page: "Paraic you were an absolute gentleman, so very witty and a true pleasure to work with and know."
Another wrote: "What a guy, be proud Riana. He will inspire."
Mr Casey's training partner, Jennifer Lane (32), was unaware of the tragedy -- and only heard about Mr Casey's death when she successfully made landfall in France after also swimming the channel.
Now, St Vincent de Paul and Marymount Hospice in Cork will liaise with the Casey and Parsons families about how best to pay tribute to the swimmer.
"We have to raise about €2m every year so we absolutely depend on people like Paraic. This is an absolutely heartbreaking tragedy and our sympathies go to his family at this difficult time," said Marymount chief executive Kevin O'Dwyer.
He said the charity is mindful of the family's plea for privacy and said any tribute will be discussed with his family first.
Mr Casey had hoped to raise €10,000 for the charities with his channel swim. However, friends said the surge in pledges could push the sum to over €20,000.
A post-mortem examination is to be carried out but it is suspected Mr Casey's death involved a heart attack. His remains are expected to be released by the French authorities in Calais either today or tomorrow.
Mr Casey's last blog -- posted the day before his death -- spoke of his enthusiasm for the channel crossing bid.
"After long months of hard training I have travelled an amazing and sometimes difficult road -- I am looking forward to giving it a real shot on Saturday -- to just keep swimming until I hit France . . ." he wrote.
He was one of seven swimmers from the Sandycove Club in Kinsale, Co Cork, who were taking part in the crossing.
He was a wildlife ranger at Fota Wildlife Park. His father, the late Paraic Snr, ran the popular Rob Roy pub in Cork city centre for many years.