Magherafelt man bids to swim six miles for charity after losing wife to a stroke

Eamonn Devlin and his son Diarmuid in action during the 10K run
Eamonn Devlin and his son Diarmuid in action during the 10K run

Magherafelt man Eamonn Devlin is preparing himself for another physical challenge to raise funds for the Stroke Association - a charity close to his heart after losing his wife to a stroke last year.

This time he is taking the plunge to swim 10K (just over six miles) in a ‘Let’s Conquer Stroke’ event at the town’s Greenvale leisure centre on Friday May 13 - and he is hoping others will join him.

Already the 53-year-old has received “expressions of interest” from around 70 people eager to push themselves to the limit to raise funds for the charity.

Back in February Eamonn ran 10K - accompanied by his 21-year-old son Diarmuid and raised £2,000 for the Stroke Association.

It was his wife Siobhan’s death - at the age of just 56 - that prompted Eamonn’s efforts to try and do something to promote awareness about the devastation a stroke leaves behind in its wake.

Siobhan was a former member of the Forge Players and the cast kindly donated the proceeds of their play The Vicar of Derramore which took place in Magherafelt Parish Centre last October and raised a few thousand pounds for the charity.

Inspired by the generosity, Eamonn tried to do something himself and set up the Siobhan.devlin.muchloved.com website where swimmers can register for May’s swim and donate £20.

“Many will probably just turn up on the day,” said Eamonn, who swims twice a week with the Master’s Over 40s swimming class at the Greenvale Centre.

Swimmers can do either the full 10K swim (400 x 25M) or enter as part of a relay team. The swimming starts at 6.30am and the main pool has been booked for a half day.

“I expect all the swimmers to have finished by then,” went on Eamonn, who was a member of the Mid Ulster Swimming Club some years ago.

Regular exercise is a good way to avoid having a stroke which is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Northern Ireland.

It’s not too late to enter the ‘Let’s Conquer Stroke’ 10k swim and you have around a month to prepare for the challenge. Enter online today and make a donation to the Stroke Association and help make ‘May Purple.’