Saturday, 14 September 2013

A huge thank you!

I am in the presence of a superhero just now!

My wife recently decided that she wanted to swim from the island of Cumbrae to our town of Largs, a distance of 1.7 miles, to help raise money for Gillian's Saltire Appeal (, a local charity that tries to provide respite care for cancer sufferers and the family of cancer sufferers. Three members of Claire's family have been through the trauma of cancer, my aunt died of it in January, and my mother is currently bravely fighting a severe form of bladder cancer.

But this was not only Claire's way of wanting to try to help those who deal with the effects of cancer, it was also her personal mountain. You know that scene in Father Ted, when Dougal is on the plane, and Ted shouts out "Dougal, whatever you do, don't hit that red button"? He tried and tried and tried not to, but ultimately gave in. Replace the red button with the desire to swim over an insanely wide stretch of water on which we have often travelled over by ferry - well, swimming part of the Firth of Clyde was Claire's big red button!

Here's the woman herself in a good frame of mind just a few minutes before she got underway:

Claire started fundraising just under two weeks back, and initially set herself the target of raising £100, before upping it to £400. Friends, family and Claire's work colleagues chipped in magnificently with contributions; I also blogged on here about what she was hoping to do, and we both used other forms of social media to ask people for support. By the time Claire set foot in the water earlier this afternoon, her grand total raised, including donations on Just Giving at (with Gift Aid), cash raised locally, and secured pledges, was a sensational £1027.44.

This is obviously a genie blog, so we'll thank our friends and family personally, but I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the genie community - of the amount raised, many of you contributed over £550, including Gift Aid, to the final amount, with donations from Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland and England, including from members of The, Unlock the Past, Irish Lives Remembered, the University of Strathclyde, the Scottish Genealogy Network, Troon@Ayrshire Family History Society, and from many other colleagues and blog readers around the world.

From both of us - THANK YOU!

So how did it go? Claire was convinced that she would probably come in last, after about two hours in the water. There were 77 swimmers, two were pulled out towards the end, but Claire was still going strong. She did come in last - but in about an hour and a half. She wasn't in it to win it (it wasn't a competition!), she wanted to climb her own mountain, push the big red button, and raise some money for a great cause - and she did!

We watched Iron Man 3 last night at home - but today was the first time I met a real superhero. Her name is Wonder Woman!

Some pics from the day:

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