FOUNDER of the Snámhaí Sásta swimming group in Spanish Point, June Curtin is hoping to raise €50,000 for Mid West Simon by Christmas.
She has recorded a song with CDs on sale around the county right now, while on Wednesday she started swimming three times a day at Spanish Point, repeating her successful 2020 fundraiser.
Speaking about the song, June says, “The Snámhái Sásta community and I recorded a single in Martin O’Malley’s studio outside Miltown Malbay. It’s a Tommy Fleming song, Don’t Give Up Till It’s Over, we had 1,000 CDs printed and they’re available in Ennis and all around Clare. All of the proceeds will go to the Mid West Simon Community.”
On Wednesday she began her fundraising swims which will continue over the next three weeks and builds on what she did this time last year. “Last year I swam three times a day from December 1 to December 21 at 9.15, 1.15 and 4.15, every day, 63 swims in 21 days. I set myself a target of €10,000 to give something back to Mid West Simon. I’m passionate about people less fortunate and homeless and I raised almost €15,000 in three weeks.
“This year I decided I’d up the ante a little bit and on top of my three swims a day, we would record a single as well and release it. I hope to raise €50,000 this year, by December 21, for the Mid West Simon Community.”
€50,000 is a massive sum of money and she is determined to do whatever she can to raise it. “To be honest I’ve no idea how I’m going to do it but I’ll give it my best shot anyway.”
Last weekend she had a sleep out braving the extreme cold of the outdoors in late November. “I did a 24 hour sleep out from 9am on Saturday morning to 9am on Sunday morning on Spanish Point beach in a tent. I did 12 hours of that on my own and then some of the swimmers joined us, there were about eight of us there on Saturday night. A lot of people came and bought CDs and people just left donations into our bucket, it’s going well so far.”
Spending the time in the open air on a November night illustrated to her how hard being homeless is. “I had no idea how cold it would be, actually. I had several layers on, pyjamas, dressing gown, dry robe, sleeping bag, two hot water bottles. I woke up and the cover of my dressing gown was wet from condensation and cold. But I did it for 24 hours and after my swim I was lucky enough to go home to a warm house, a fire, a hot shower and a nice bed last night. A lot of homeless people don’t get to do that. What I did for 24 hours they’re doing every day of the week.”
On Wednesday, December 1 she had her first daily swims and they will be continuing at Spanish Point beach at 9.15, 1.15 and 4.15 every day up to and including December 21.
There will be updates on the Snamhaí Sásta instagram page and there is a link to donate there.
June urged people to contribute, even if they don’t feel they have much to give. “€5 might seem like very little, but they all add up. It’s not about grand gestures of hundreds of euros and they all add up.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.