Ireland

Swimmers brave chilly waters of Donegal to raise funds for charities helping Palestinian people

Around 150 swimmers dipped in Downings Bay in aid of Fund a Food Drop and Medical Aid for Palestinians

Swimmers from across Ireland have braved the chilly waters of Donegal’s Sheephaven Bay in Downings for the Make Waves for Palestine fundraiser.
Swimmers from across Ireland have braved the chilly waters of Donegal’s Sheephaven Bay in Downings for the Make Waves for Palestine fundraiser (PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICK BROWNE)

Swimmers from across the island of Ireland have braved the chilly waters of Donegal to raise funds for two charities providing aid and relief for the Palestinian people.

Around 150 swimmers took to the sea at Sheephaven Bay in Downings for the Make Waves for Palestine fundraiser, also watched by their onshore supporters.

Speaking to The Irish News, co-organiser Patrick Browne, described the swim as “a dip for peace with every penny raised going to two amazing charities” - Fund a Food Drop and Medical Aid for Palestinians.

The newly qualified special needs assistant said the fundraiser was the idea of his friend Vicky Pattison – 2105 Queen of the I’m a Celebrity Jungle – and himself.

“We wanted to provide aid and relief for the Palestinian people,” he added.

“Like everyone, we are all heartbroken by the never-ending suffering endured by the children and innocent people of Palestine.

150 swimmers took to the sea, watched by their onshore supporters, in aid of Fund a Food Drop and Medical Aid for Palestinians. PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICK BROWNE
150 swimmers took to the sea, watched by their onshore supporters, in aid of Fund a Food Drop and Medical Aid for Palestinians. PICTURE: PATRICK BROWNE

“Fund a Food Drop, organised here by Derry woman Hilda Orr, is providing essential food for the Gazan people currently in refugee camps.

“Medical Aid for Palestinians offers medical services in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon, and advocates for Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity.

“I have organised a few swims in the past for different charities, including breast cancer and Movember.

“During Covid, I was in the water every day for 365 days and raised money for a different charity each month.”

He said he was “overwhelmed” by Saturday’s turnout and the “great, positive atmosphere” at the beach and afterwards at the social in the Downing’s Bay Hotel.

Swimmers from across Ireland have braved the chilly waters of Donegal’s Sheephaven Bay in Downings for the Make Waves for Palestine fundraiser. PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICK BROWNE
Swimmers from across Ireland have braved the chilly waters of Donegal’s Sheephaven Bay in Downings for the Make Waves for Palestine fundraiser. PHOTOGRAPH: PATRICK BROWNE

“Everyone was there for the right reasons,” said Patrick, “to stand up and be counted about what is happening in Palestine”.

“I hope we don’t have to do another fundraiser for Palestine but, unfortunately, the way things are going, we probably will.

“The day after Make Waves for Palestine, we climbed Steps for Peace up Errigal. I am really delighted to say, so far, we have exceeded our fundraising target and have received donations of almost €10,000 for the two charities.”

Donations can be made to Make Waves For Palestine on GoFundMe