Over the past 30 years, thousands of people from Galway and beyond have gathered in Salthill on Christmas Day to take part in COPE Galway’s annual Christmas swim.
But as hundreds of people won’t be able to congregate in Salthill this year, the charity has instead launched a #SwimWhereYouAre event which will take place over ten days from 21 to 30 December.
The annual Christmas swim raises vital funds which COPE Galway relies on every year; last year almost €50,000 was raised at the event and over half of that was from bucket collections on the day.
While the 2020 Christmas Swim will be different, the local organisation wants to give everyone the opportunity to connect with each other, create good memories and make a difference in the lives of people in Galway who need the support of COPE Galway’s services.
“We’re asking Galwegians at home and abroad to register online at www.copegalway.ie/swim and we’ll post out a t-shirt,” said Community Fundraiser, Lynia O’Brien.
“You can swim at your nearest beach and post a photo on social media of you braving the cold winter waters.
“With so many people unable to travel home this Christmas, we are hoping that this is something families can do together to stay connected – even though they are apart.”
Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghaill, Presenter of Rugbaí BEO on TG4 and COPE Galway board member, will be one of the many lining up to swim for COPE Galway.
Launching the event, she said: “I’m very excited that 2020 isn’t going to rob me of the traditional Christmas swim! It’s one of my Christmas highlights and it’s amazing that we can all join together & support this fantastic cause from wherever we are.
“Although we can’t be together in Salthill on the day, shaking a bucket and handing out warm cups of tea, we are giving everyone an opportunity to continue their Christmas Swim tradition.
“We are also asking everyone who can, to sponsor a swimmer if you cannot swim yourself. You can participate and raise funds from anywhere in the world – and stay connected to Galway this Christmas,” said Lynia.
All funds raised by this event will help support COPE Galway’s services for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic abuse, and support older people at risk of social and nutritional isolation in Galway.
To register and for further information please visit copegalway.ie/swim.