Galway Bay Swim sees swimmers cross the bay for Cancer Care West

Mark Dunleavey (right) of Salthill completed he 13th annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West on Saturday pictured with his brother Rory. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Mark Dunleavey (right) of Salthill completed he 13th annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West on Saturday pictured with his brother Rory. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

The annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim took place on Saturday July 21 raising close on €120,000 for Cancer Care West.

Now in its 13th year, the swim has become one of Ireland's biggest and longest one day swims.

The swim of 13 kilometres, which started with just three swimmers in 2006, was sold out with 146 swimmers beginning their swim in Auginish in Co Clare and finishing at Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill.

Hundreds of people welcomed home the victorious swimmers at Blackrock Tower from 12 noon.

Safety as always was a priority for the swim, the swim would not be possible without the maritime community in the west. Each swimmer taking part needs a boat to follow and track their swim. Ciaran Oliver from Galway Bay Boat Tours expertly coordinated all the boats across the bay.

Kevin Thornton, son of Frances and one of the organisers of the annual Galway Bay Swim said; "Having helped to start the event back in 2006 with just three swimmers, the Thornton family are immensely proud to continue to be a part of what has become the biggest annual fundraiser for Cancer Care West. The event leans heavily on the large maritime community of Galway Bay and the businesses within our home village of Salthill.

"The event would not be possible without their help. For the swimmers, our swim offers the open water experience of a lifetime and the opportunity to do their own little bit for the person in their lives that has been touched by cancer. Everyone involved takes part in the event for their own special reason and we are honoured that the memory of our mother Frances, who loved to swim, lives on through those making the annual crossing across Galway Bay."

The swim which attracts swimmers from across the world saw a total 65 solo swimmers and 65 relay swimmers taking part in teams of two, three, and four swimmers.

Since the swim began, 569 people have swum the bay.

Last year’s swim raised €108,000 for Cancer Care West, these monies raised helped to fund the expansion of support services for cancer patients including a counselling service for children and a dedicated gym rehabilitation space for cancer patients.

Donations can still be made on line at http://www.galwaybayswim.com/ or on www.facebook.com/galwaybayswim

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