Maria Paternotre and Liz Cooney at Lough Owel on Saturday.

Lough Owel fundraising swimmers 'enjoy every minute of it'

The group who swam across Lough Owel as a fundraiser for a new school in the midlands “enjoyed every minute of it” said organiser, Liz Cooney.

Liz and friends are raising funds to help the team behind a new Midhe Democratic School, which they hope to open in the spring of next year.

Liz said the school team are working on identifying a location and the fundraising is for building materials and then school supplies

The Midhe Democratic School concept is a child-led form of education. Their website states: ‘At MDS every school community member has one vote. There is no structural hierarchy. Each school member, staff and child have a say on all aspects of the running of the school with the one exception of safety, where a staff member may intervene if a child is at risk to themselves or another.’

Liz “thought that was a perfect cause to swim for” and she asked friends if they would join her for the challenge.

After they completed the lake crossing, at the diving boards on Saturday, Liz said: “I want to thank everyone who did the swim with me, Maria Paternottre, Nikki Walsh, Dee Roche, Paula Murray, Fiona Sullivan, Wayne Mote, Caroline O’Connell, Mary Taaffe and importantly Ruby Murray and Freddie Murray, kayakers, and Robbie O’Connor, who drove the rib for us – we couldn’t have done it without their help.

“I also want to mention the team behind the school, Caroline, Jenny, Kate and Amanda, who were really supportive in helping me do this. They’re a fantastic bunch, and I’m only too delighted to help them.”

Liz also paid tribute to the “great swimming community here in Mullingar, that meant I could recruit such support”.

Nikki Walsh from Ballinea.
Caroline O'Connell from Mullingar.
Caroline Lewis, Amanda Clarke and Kate Egan from Midhe Democratic School.
Jenny Short and Jessica O'Rourke on Saturday.
Dani and Tillie Kavanagh from Ballymahon.
Stephen Dunne from Mullingar and Robbie O'Connor from Crookedwood.
Ruben, Isobel and Otis Kelly from Castletown Geoghegan.
Wayne Mote and Fiona O'Sullivan after the swim.
Fred and Ruby Murray from Bunbrosna.
Maria Paternotre and Liz Cooney at Lough Owel.
Maeve, Gemma and Ailish McGovern from Mullingar.