independent

Sunday 21 July 2019

Swimmers start new year with a chilly dip

Lifeguards Jack Dempsey, Bill Sheehy and Colm Dempsey
Lifeguards Jack Dempsey, Bill Sheehy and Colm Dempsey
Marie Hargarty, Lauren Steele and Caoimhe Uí Bhroin
Mags Mulhall, Ali Woodcock, Hyacinth Campbell, Mairead Kelly, Ciara Fagan, Daryle Carey, Deborah Matthews and Mary Hargaden, all swimming for BARSS at the Bray Charities Sea Swim on New Year’s DAy. Photos by Barbara Flynn
Damien Duff, Ciaran Ryan, Finn McNamee, John Duggan and Beau Duggan

Mary Fogarty

It was a cold start to 2019 for hundreds of swimmers who took the plunge at the Bray Lions Club's annual New Year's Day charities sea swim.

Carmel Stokes was one of the winners of this year's costume competition, along with 'sad case' Nora Stewart. Carmel was reminding everyone to protect the sea by picking up plastic. Proceeds are still being finalised, with sponsorship monies coming in, and will be donated to Wicklow Rapid Response (WWRR), Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support (BARSS), Bray Women's Refuge and Bray Lions Senior Citizens'/Carers' fund. As well as fundraising by each swimmer, there was also a bucket collection on the day.

As well as plenty of swimmers, there was a large crowd of onlookers ready with towels and congratulations for the volunteers who braved the waters.

'We were so thrilled to see the huge number of swimmers and spectators,' said a spokesman. 'Thank you to everyone who volunteered and helped make this event possible.'

Set up 36 years ago for the dual purposes of having some fun and raising funds for local charities, this yearly event has to date realised €342,614 for a long list of worthy local causes. With many of the swimmers turning out in fancy dress, it is always a very enjoyable and colourful event and 2019 was no different. All funds raised go 100 per cent to the charities, with no costs deducted.

Bray People

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