The team setting off for their epic journey
A team of amateur kayakers from Kilkenny have successfully completed their gruelling 14-hour paddle across St George's Channel - and all for a good cause.
The team was made up of business owner Liam Anthony Griffin, Irish Defence Force members Private Stephen Happe and Private David Feehan.
At 5.45am on Saturday morning,the group set off in single kayaks from Carne Beach with the ambition to reach St David’s Head in Wales in order to raise awareness and funds for the suicide prevention charity 3TS (Turn the Tide of Suicide Charity).
Liam Anthony Griffin had the idea for the challenge some five months prior. The team was created and put in a gruelling four and a half months training to be ready to take on the approx 100km challenge. They took everything aboard their single kayaks and were 100% self-sufficient (water, food, first aid) for the 14 hours; the support boat was simply there in case of any mishaps.
The team faced many challenges from preparation to reading tides and even dealing with a substantial injury along the way. Private Davy Feehan, four hours from the Welsh shore sustained a bicep injury and instead of taking a tow rope from another team member or even contemplating getting on the support boat he gritted his teeth and paddled through the pain for the remaining four hours of the journey.
The team have passed their target of €10,000 for suicide prevention. They would like to thank everyone who has donated so far and made this challenge so worthwhile. You can still donate as the page will be live until the end of July 2018.
Selfie at sea.... The team out on the water
The team would like to offer special thanks to Skipper Pascal Ryan and crew who supplied the support boat and was instrumental in the event going ahead. Dermot Greer of Sailing Ireland who helped the team with navigational training, Maija Griffin who created the perfect food plan for the crossing and of course Mick O’ Meara who was Liam Anthony’s first ever kayak instructor, who from the first phone call supported and guided the team throughout all the planning for this mighty challenge.
Special mention to Private Aaron Kearney who was part of the original team but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances could not participate in this particular challenge. He helped man the support boat and was a great encouragement on the day.
“The challenge was to create an amateur team, cross St George’s Channel in a self-sufficient manner and raise vital funds for suicide prevention, an area that affects all families in Ireland and one that is so underfunded by the state," said Liam Anthony Griffin.
"We are so thrilled to have completed all of the above. To arrive as a team on the sands of Wales was euphoric. We want to thank everyone who has supported us along the way, from support crews to our families who have not seen much of us over the last 5 months.”
Private Stephen Happe says the challenge was a tough one.
“So after all the planning and training we are finally done, we crossed the Irish Sea from Wexford to Wales in 14 hours," he said.
"It was an excellent effort by the lads with a good fight against the water for the last few hours. A big thanks to everybody who supported us in our journey, especially to everyone who has donated so far, and helped us to raise over €12,000 for suicide prevention awareness.”
3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide) is a registered charity in Ireland founded in 2003 to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and to raise funds to help prevent future deaths by Suicide through dedicated research, intervention and support. 3Ts receive no Government funding but rely on their own fundraising activities and those of its supporters, both private and corporate. To make a donation to the charity, click here.
All of the proceeds raised are being donated directly to the registered charity 3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide).