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Laois mum of endurance sea swimmer gets a special visit

Laois mum of endurance sea swimmer gets special visit from supporters

Marie Fennelly, mother of Joan, with Yarnbombing Mountmellick.

As tension builds for a Laois native set to try and swim the Bristol Channel this Tuesday July 20, her elderly mother received a heartwarming visit from a local group.

Joan Fennelly is part of a five woman relay team, the Henley Mermaids, whowill attempt to swim the incredibly difficult Bristol Channel, and become the first ever all woman team to cross it.  Read more here.

Their swim has been rescheduled from July 22 up to Tuesday after adverse sea conditions were forecasted. 

Her mother Marie Fennelly from Mountmellick, got an uplifting visit last weekend from another strong female group, Yarnbombing Mountmellick.

They paid a lovely tribute to Joan (pictured below with her swim team)

"We don't normally like to crusade or get up on our soapbox, but for this Mountmellick woman, we gladly make an exception. Joan Fennelly, along with her band of fellow legends, The Henley Mermaids, are taking on the Bristol Channel this coming Thursday, starting around 5am. Not content with the English Channel (which they crossed in 2020), they intend to be the first all-female team to cross what has the second highest tidal range in the world. In fact, it has only been swum 20 times. So, this is BIG no matter what way you look at it.

They also ask everyone to donate to the charities chosen to benefit from the swim. So far over €4,200 has been donated to the Irish charities alone.

"Joan and her fellow mermaids are raising money for charities on both sides of the Irish sea. All of the charities relate to brain conditions. The Irish ones are Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Ireland, Dublin Neurological Institute Mater Hospital, and Huntington's Disease Association of Ireland. So, you can see why we just have to row in behind these amazing women.

"This evening we went to visit her fabulous Mammy Mrs Fennelly (who happens to be a huge fan of our Yarnbombing installations and a knitter herself). We wanted to show our solidarity and let her know that we are all rooting for the mermaids.

"What we would ask you to do is to head to and dig deep to support the women and the charities mentioned above. On the day of the swim itself, tune into their social media to cheer them on.

"One last thing, Joan told us that their identity is "that of a very tightly knit team made up of great friends, each bringing their own unique dynamic". We thought, now that sounds familiar! So, from one group of female friends who simply make stuff out of yarn, to our sisters across the sea making serious history, we say ádh mór, may the waters be kind and the sun shine brightly to light your way."

Follow progress of the Henley Mermaids in their latest challenge on their own website here. 

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