Foyle Search and Rescue has been confirmed as the official charity partner of the upcoming Firmus Energy City of Derry Triathlon for the third year running.
The triathlon will take place on Sunday 14 June and prior to this on Thursday, 11 June, there will be a trial swim for those wanting to get some practice in the water before the big day.
Volunteers will be out on collecting at the events, and the charity will also receive a percentage of the registration fees for the main triathlon.
FS&R has saved the lives of more than 2,500 people in distress since 1993. Through the partnership with the triathlon, over the last two years they have received £3,000 with hopes high this will rise to £5,000 this year.
Yvonne Kennedy, fundraising co-ordinator for Foyle Search and Rescue said: “We are delighted to be the official charity partner and are extremely grateful to the North West Triathlon Club (NWTC) and Firmus Energy for their continued support..
“We are partially-funded by Derry City Council and the Public Health Agency but with basic running costs averaging over £135,000 per year, we have to look at other ways to raise money.”
FS&R was set up by local people just over 20 years ago in response to the alarmingly high number of drownings in the river- 30 within 18 months.
Yvonne said: “Our volunteers patrol the river on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 9.30pm to 3am, which have been identified as peak times of need, and engage with people in distress, maintain lifebelts and save lives. The charity also has an Emergency Response Team, made up of 15 experienced volunteers, who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to potential suicide attempts, missing people and incidents in and around the river outside of patrol hours.
“To date, our charity has stopped 2,568 potential suicides, rescued over 316 people directly from the water and sadly, we have also recovered 126 bodies, ensuring at all times everyone is treated with dignity.”
Angeline Murphy, from Firmus Energy, said: “It is clear, even from the statistics alone, that the service provided by Foyle Search and Rescue is of vital importance to the community.
“People have the opportunity to raise sponsorship for the event and I know the local charity would be delighted if people took part in the triathlon on their behalf.”
For more information or to take part in the triathlon, a National Series event, on Sunday 14 June, visit www.firmusenergyderrycitytriathlon.com.
If you are interested competing in support of Foyle Search and Rescue or would be able to spare some time to become a fundraising volunteer for the charity, email the team on: firstname.lastname@example.org.