A seven-year-old boy has braved the icy waters around his native Cobh, Co Cork every day for the last month as part of a fundraising sea-swimming challenge.
Hunter Halpin, who is a second class pupil at Gaelscoil Uí Éigeartaigh, was joined in the water on the last day of his monthly challenge by his teacher Declan O’Connell and a couple of the parents from the school.
By Wednesday afternoon, almost €3,500 had been raised for new sports attire for his whole school.
His mother Clodagh said the poor weather this month was a “challenge in itself” but Hunter was determined to plough on in order to honour his commitment.
“We had a couple of days that were pretty bad [weather wise]. But he got up every day and said: What time is the tide? What time are we swimming?...
“He was adamant we were not missing a day and we didn’t. There were days where the waves were coming up over the wall but we found a time when the tide was good or we moved to a different beach where it was a bit calmer. We always got our dip in.”
Hunter was aiming to raise €600 to cover the cost of providing new singlets for the school. But now he has raised enough money for singlets, shorts and new equipment.
Clodagh said they never expected the fundraiser to travel outside the parents from the school but word of Hunter’s determination spread through Cobh and further afield.
“He got a heroes welcome back to the school today. They had flags and all out for him. We are so proud of him. There was mornings where I woke up and was dreading the swim but he was always determined to go.”
She is extremely appreciative of the support they received from locals, friends and family. “It has been an experience. Hunter has two older brothers and an older sister and they did a couple of dips with him as well. His nana Noreen came out every day to support him.”
She added that while Hunter has completed his challenge he doesn’t want to stop sea swimming. “I am sure he will be thinking of his next challenge soon.”