Hero swimmer’s remains to return for burial

The widow of open-water swimmer Páraic Casey, whose body is expected to be flown home tomorrow, is taking “great comfort” from the surge in donations being made in his name.

A spokesperson for the family said Riana Parsons-Casey and her family and friends have been touched by how total strangers have given a small fortune to two charities out of respect for the Cork swimmer’s final act.

The 45-year-old suffered a heart attack just 1km away from Calais in France at 1.30am on Sunday.

He had been attempting to complete the gruelling 34km English Channel swim, considered by open-water swimmers to be their “Mount Everest”. More people have climbed the world’s highest peak than have swum from England to France.

Since his death on Sunday morning, his www.mycharity.ie page on behalf of the Marymount Hospice and St Vincent de Paul has surged from €330 to €8,000.

The donations — by more than 200 people in Ireland, Australia, Italy and Britain — will go to providing vital services for people most in need of help.

Ned Denison, a close friend of Páraic and chairman of his club, Kinsale-based Sandcove Island Swim Club, said the donations are “certainly bringing great comfort to Riana”.

The St Vincent de Paul said the financial support is a fitting tribute to Páraic’s life led. The Fota Wildlife Park worker and talented musician was a regular fundraiser for the group.

Meanwhile, it is understood Páraic’s remains will be brought home tomorrow with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

No exact date has been set for his funeral, but it is expected to take place on Saturday, with his removal on Friday.

Hundreds are expected to attend the funeral.

* Donations to Páraic Casey’s fund in aid of the Marymount Hospice and St Vincent de Paul can be made at: www.exa.mn/7m

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