Arran mermaid completes 24-hour swim challenge for charities

COAST, RNLI, Junior Triathlon and Junior Sailing members celebrate Georgina’s accomplishment. Photograph: COAST.

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Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

Georgina Lepley Maclean has completed a gruelling 24-hour challenge by swimming one mile every hour in aid of four aquatic charities on Arran.

More than doubling her target, the challenge raised £2,418 for the RNLI, Arran Junior Sailing Club, Arran Junior Triathlon Club and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) last weekend.

Remarkably, the challenge was only hastily arranged two weeks ago when Georgina, the swimming coach at Mermaiding Georgina, and a friend were speaking about the annual Lamlash Splash weekend being commemorated in some way.

One flippant comment later, and with the support of a number of friends and organisations, Georgina took on the challenge and has helped to provide funding for these aquatic and conservation charities on Arran.

Starting at noon on Saturday, and swimming throughout the night, Georgina finished the 24-mile swim by the following afternoon when she was joined by a number of supporters who took to the water with her.

Speaking to Georgina before she set off, asking her why she is taking on such a gruelling challenge with the added difficulties of cold water and stinging jellyfish, Georgina said: ‘Instead of doing the Lamlash Splash this year, I am going to honour the weekend with a swim challenge and fund raiser.

She explained: ‘The Lamlash Splash entry fee usually goes towards the Junior Sailing Club so its cancellation has meant that they have not had any funding for two years.

‘I coach members of the Junior Triathlon Club and I want to be able to continue to offer equipment, wet-suits and bikes to as many children as possible.

‘And without the work of COAST I wouldn’t have the sea to swim in and be able to enjoy all of the aquatic life.

‘I have also chosen the RNLI for always being on call and keeping me safe when I swim every day in the sea and undertake these adventures.’

Georgina was supported by Arran Kayak Club whose members kept a watchful eye on her and provided encouragement as she swam.

They also led the way with lights which helped with night time navigation and prevented too many jellyfish stings.

Georgina credits her being able to complete the swim wholly on all of the assistance and support that she received during the challenge.

She said: ‘Thank you to each and every one one of you who has made this possible. I would not have been able to complete this challenge, or raise any funds, without the generous help and support from a number of people and organisations, all of which I am extremely grateful for.’

Full details about the swim and the beneficiaries of the challenge can be found on the Just Giving page at where donations can also be made.