Kildare duo set to complete second English Channel swim to raise funds from St Raphaels

Ken and Mercedes Bagnall waiting for window

Niamh O'Donoghue


Niamh O'Donoghue


Kildare duo set to complete second English Channel swim to raise funds from St Raphaels

Mercedes Bagnall, Ruth Sloley, Martina Ring, Ken Bagnall

The Dover Clovers are back again this year to once more swim the English Channel to raise funds for St Raphael’s in Celbridge. 

Two Naas residents, Mercedes and Ken Bagnall are getting ready for the epic challenge, having completed it for the first time last year.

Depending on the weather and sea conditions, the brother and sister duo are aiming to set out at some point over the coming days.

Martina Ring from Rathcoole and Ruth Sloely are also on the team.

“We are booked in again to attempt our relay swim across the English Channel from 29 June – July 2 on the Spring tide. We are raising money for Rowandale day centre for Adults in St Raphaels in Celbridge. We managed to buy Riverside, (one of the residential homes), a wheelchair accessible car last year which was great. This year we want to try to improve the day to day lives of the adults who are looked after there,” said Mercedes.

Ken and Mercedes have a personal connection with St. Raphaels as their sister Jenny uses the services at the Celbridge facility. The team are funding the swim themselves so all the money raised goes directly to St Raphaels.

"This year we are going to give our money to Rowandale the unit in St Raphaels that provides services for Jen and many other adults including therapy, swimming, music therapy, story telling and a place for friends to enjoy each others company and be given a sense of purpose. Funds have been severely cut and it's simply not fair, so help us support the teams that inject a bit of fun and a sense of purpose into some very special peoples lives," said the team.

The English Channel swim will cover at least 21 miles but the distance the team swim will depend on tides.

"More people have climbed Mount Everest than have swum across the English Channel. We will all swim in one hour rotations and have to stick to the Channel Swimming Association’s strict rules with an observer on board making sure we adhere," the team explained.

The team can only wear a standard swimsuit, one swim hat and goggles. The challenges are many including weather, tides, jelly fish and for relay teams seasickness on the boat.

Follow the Kildare duo and their team live via the live tracker.

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