With the water fairly calm and on a showery but chilly New Year’s Day, 91 hardy souls took the plunge into Carnlough Harbour for the annual New Year’s Day swim.
Among the swimmers were visitors, sisters Leah and Sarah Hamilton from Canada, father and son Leonardo and Ryan Maffioli from Switzerland, Dario Barsolini from Italy plus, Alan Trainor from Donegal and Arthur Chatfield from Scotland on their yearly pilgrimage.
The swimmers had hundreds of spectators in attendance to watch them taking the plunge and there keeping a watchful eye on everyone were members of the Larne branch of the Saint John’s Ambulance.
What a day it was for the number of new first time swimmers and usual stalwarts taking part including: David Wright, Robert Freeburn, Angela McClements, Curtis Donnell, Darren Donnell, Bert Kernohan, Michelle Tabb, Raymond Abraham, Mark McConnell, Aime Millar, Daniel Laverty, Drew Farquar, Chloe Farquar, Jodie Farquar, Natasha Blair, Lorcan Bradley, Brian Bradley, Montel Gilmore, Craig Gilmore, Eddie Gilmore, Stuart Gilmore, Scott Gilmore, Stuart Smyth, Emma Mills, Barney Rea, Nicola McKillop, Katie McKavanagh, Catriona McKavanagh, Conor McKavamagh, Alastair Neeson, Arthur Chatfield, Jasmine McIlroy, Anne-Marie Fenton, Christine Fenton, Paul Murdoch, Leah Hamilton, Sarah Hamilton, Billy McCartney, Joe Magee, Rebecca McQuillan, J.P. Mitchell, Ryan Maffioli, Leonardo Maffioli, Simon Murphy, Chloe Murphy, Nakita Jackson, Chris McMaster, Clodagh Robinson, Andrew Kernohan, Dana Kernohan, Jodie Hanna, Megan McClements, Shannon Magee, Ashleigh McGrugan, Andrew Moss, Craig Moss, Jamie Moss, Audrey Moss, Richard Gault, Jason Connon, Michael Marshall, Amy O’Kane, Heather Carson, Christine Gray, David Rutherford, Jonathan McMaster, Lucy Adair, Ryan McFadden, Tracey Meudec, Anthony O’Rawe, Paul O’Rawe, Josh McCrory, Ricky McGall, Conor Callaghan, Simon Moon, Josh Tate, Hugo Carlin, Sinead Harvey, D. Goff, B. O’Kane, Blaize Lambert, Geoff Bell, Bob Owens, Raymond Henry, Gareth Badger, Henry Dobbin, Dario Barsalini, Kai McCormick, Alan Trainor, Beth Doherty, Oliver Doherty.
Prior to the swimmers diving in, the Chairman of the Association Billy McIlroy BEM and Geoff Bell presented Bert Kernohan with a plaque to mark his 40th year in taking part.
Following the swim, those taking part enjoyed festivities at the Glencloy Inn with Mr McIlroy wishing them all a very happy and prosperous new year.
He also paid tribute to Mrs Pam Donnell, a stalwart of the association, who passed away in February 2017.
Mr McIlroy said it was great to see so many swimmers taking part, including so many first time swimmers and visitors from further afield. He also offered congratulations on behalf of everyone on the news that regular swimmer Simon Murphy had proposed to Megan McClements.
Mementoes and certificates were then presented by Mrs Sharon Smyth and daughter Grace to the swimmers.
Last year the swim raised the magnificent sum of £4812 and this year again has got off to a brilliant start with £3452 being collected on the day thanks to the generous support from the general public.
The social festivities then got off to a good start with Bert Kernohan carrying out the duties of compere and the music being supplied by Aidan Canning.
Organisers would like to thank: Bernie Candlish and Mid and East Antrim Council for erecting the signs and safety barriers around the harbour; Paddy Diamond and staff of the Glencloy Inn for their courteous service; Aidan Canning who provided the music; James Henry and staff, Ballymena, who provided transport for the swimmers from the Seven Towers Leisure Centre to Carnlough; Larne branch of the Saint John’s Ambulance; Robert McHenry and the Carnlough Rowing Club for the use of the Boathouse; Mr Paul McWilliams Proprietor of Galgorm Trophies who supplied the swimmers’ mementoes; Ballymena Business Equipment who supplied the certificates; Sabrina Donnell, Denise Freeburn and young helpers for the Harbour Collection which raised £386; Darren Donnell and Denise Freeburn who organised the Raffle; The Associations Mothers Committee and Friends who donated the prizes which raised £214.
Anyone who was unable to attend the presentation to receive their Certificate and Medal please contact Billy McIlroy on 07718809314.