Thousands of people descended on Salthill on Saturday to support the 10th annual Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim in aid of Cancer Care West. The swim, which attracted swimmers from across Ireland, UK, Australia, the US, and Scandinavia, saw some 85 swimmers take to the waters in Co Clare before embarking on the 13km swim across to Blackrock Diving Tower
This year’s swim set a target of €100,000 for the 10th anniversary. “Funds are still pouring in, faster than we can count it, and we are well on the way to the €100,000,” said Brian Thornton, organiser, swimmer and board director of Cancer Care West.
Fiona Thornton was among those who swam the entire 13km route. “I’ve been training in the 90 metre pool in Cambridge so I was prepared for the distance, but not the jellyfish or the seals we met along the way,” she said afterwards. “Fantastic day, and I was so delighted to have had Kevin, Claire, Dad, and Philip swimming with me. It was an incredible feeling coming home to Blackrock to such a welcome, can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
“Terrific day across the board with a terrific number of swimmers and volunteers and extremely well organised,” Ms Thornton added. “The main thing is that all the swimmers came in safely and we raised the profile for Cancer Care West, plus we helped to raise much needed funding. Fran would have been pleased with it all.”
“We’ve had an unprecedented amount of exposure for the charity, not just on a local and national scale but an international scale too. That’s partly down to the inclusion of swimmers from the abroad but also the growth in popularity of the swim online and digitally,” said Brian Thornton.
“The weather gods truly were with us and that went a long way to making it our most successful year to date. We had record amount of swimmers, record amounts of boats and safety crews, record crowds at Blackrock, and record amounts of money raised. Straddled between two storms, we couldn’t have asked for a calmer, sunnier day. I think we got the best day of the summer.”
Kevin Thornton added: “A huge thank you has to go to the swimmers for their massive athletic undertaking and fundraising efforts and also to the marine community of the bay for their support, without which the event wouldn’t be possible.”
For more information check out Galway Bay Swim on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.galwaybayswim.com.