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Ballygally open water swimmers caught in a rip current raise over £1000 for Larne RNLI



A group of open water swimmers who got caught in a rip current have raised over £1000 for Larne RNLI.

The volunteer lifeboat crew were requested to assist swimmers caught in a rip current at Ballygally beach in late March. The swimmers were safely recovered to the shore before action was required by the station’s lifeboats, but following the incident, the swimmers at Ballygally Chilli Dippers Open Water Swimming Group felt they would like to do their bit to help the charity.

On Sunday last (23 May), some of Larne RNLI’s volunteer crew along with Lifeboat Operations Manager Allan Dorman and members of the fundraising team, went to Ballygally Beach where a cheque was presented for £1,016 by the Chilli Dippers.


Recalling the events from March, Sharon Hamilton of the swimming group said:


“The sea conditions changed very quickly that evening and within seconds of going in, a few of us were taken out to sea and out of our depth by a rip current. We all had our floats and to begin with we were within our depths. Our intention that evening was to have a quick swim, however once we were caught in the current the fight was too much for us to get back to shore. Luckily help came just in time.”



Speaking about the increase in open water swimming, Sharon said:


“The pandemic and lockdown has sent lots of us running to the sea for therapy and exercise, but safety needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.


“Never swim alone, use a float, carry a whistle and check tide times and learn how to spot a rip current. Thankfully the fast-acting members of the Chilli Dippers, pulled together and got everyone safely back to the shore just as the RNLI were launching.


“The response I got from my Facebook post, highlighting the need for sea safety was overwhelming, so I decided to turn it around and ask for a small donation from anyone who had liked or shared the post. The response was amazing and a grand total of £1,016 was raised within a week.”


The fundraising efforts of the Chilli Dippers comes at a time when the RNLI is asking for donations as part of its annual Mayday fundraising campaign.


Allan Dorman, Larne RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said:


“We are so grateful to Sharon and all the Chilli Dippers for thinking of us, raising much needed funds to help us to continue to save lives at sea, all while spreading the importance of water safety as well.”


There is still time to take part in with the Mayday Mile. Walk, run, cycle, or cover one mile however you would like and then donate online to the RNLI at:


RNLI.org/supportMayday