Athlone women raise more than €11k for Lough Ree RNLI in marathon swim

Lifeboats News Release

Local open water swimmers Serena Friel and Karen Reynolds have presented Lough Ree RNLI with a cheque for €11,300 following a fundraising swim on the lake last month.

RNLI/Tom McGuire

Karen Reynolds & Serena Friel with lake chart of swim route

Throughout this year the women, who have been swimming regularly at Coosan Point, admired the progress on the new boathouse for the RNLI which is under construction on the lake shore. When they heard of an initiative to raise a local community contribution of €100,000 for the facility they decided to lend their support.

Under the careful eye of their coach David Warby from Athlone Regional Sports Centre they set about the task of training to swim the length of Lough Ree, a challenging 32km from Lanesboro Bridge on the Longford/Roscommon border to the Town Bridge in Athlone. They completed the task last month in a record time of 10 hours 13 minutes.

On Thursday last (16 September) Serena and Karen visited the Lough Ree RNLI facility at Coosan Point and presented Treasurer Vincent Rafter with a cheque for €11,300, more than 10% of the overall target.

At the presentation Serena Friel thanked everyone who had supported them in the ‘Lough Ree Challenge’ especially: ‘Midland Print, Cantwell Corporate Finance, the staff of Athlone Mail Centre and clients of Serena’s Hair Studio. Karen Reynolds thanked ‘everyone who had contributed to the fund and especially logistics co-ordinator Carmel Hughes and Catriona Cantwell for Social Media.’

Accepting the generous contribution Lough Ree RNLI Treasurer Vincent Rafter said; ‘both women had made an invaluable contribution to the charity and to water safety on the lake and river Shannon.’

So far this year Lough Ree RNLI has responded to 42 call outs to people and vessels in difficulty on the water.

This week Lough Ree RNLI also received a generous contribution to the fund of €1,500 from RBK Chartered Accountants.

The station has a local bank account where all donations, large or small, are welcome: ‘Loughree RNLI Boathouse Appeal – BIC:AIBKIE2D IBAN: IE80AIBK93226458090098’


Note to Picture Editors: Pics 1 and 2 Karen Reynolds and Senena Friel at presentation with cheque (Pic 1) and Chart of Lough Ree swim (Pic 2). Pic 3 : Presentation from left, Damien Delaney Lough Ree RNLI, Karen Reynolds, Serena Friel and Vincent Rafter, Treasurer Lough Ree RNLI

RNLI/Tom McGuire

Karen & Serena with donation cheque
L-R: Damien Delaney (Lough Ree RNLI), Karen Reynolds & Serena Friel (Charity Swimmers) & Vincent Rafter (Treasurer, Lough Ree RNLI)

RNLI/Tom McGuire

Presentation of cheque to RNLI

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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