Kayak Challenge team members Stephen Happe, Liam Anthony Griffin and David Fehan.

A team of four kayakers who hail from the Wexford, Kilkenny and Cork are planning to commence their crossing of the Irish Sea this Saturday (June 23rd) all in aid of the suicide prevention charity ‘3T’s’ Turn The Tide of Suicide.

The group will depart from the coast of Wexford and head to St David’s Head in Wales, in four single sea-kayaks along with a support boat manned by boat owner and skipper Pascal Ryan and Chef Derry Clarke.

The amateur kayak team is made up of a group of friends and members of Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club; they include business owner Liam Anthony Griffin, and Irish Defence Force members Private Stephan Happe, Signalman Araon Kearney and Private David Feehan.

Commenting on the planned crossing, Liam Anthony Griffin who is a dedicated sea and river kayaker says, “We had planned to undertake this challenge on July 7th, however the weather conditions look like they will be very favourable this weekend, with a high pressure, low winds and a neap tide so we are planning to depart a dawn on Saturday morning from Wexford and we will hopefully reach the coast of Wales some 13 hours later. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far and an especially big thank you to Pascal Ryan for getting his boat ready at such short notice and supporting us all the way.”

Private Stephen Happe from Kilkenny has been kayaking for over 18 years; he is a member of the Irish Army and is based in the Stephen’s Barracks Kilkenny. He is also the Training and Development Officer at the Kilkenny Aqua Canoe Club and also for the Irish Defence Forces Kayak Club.

Signalman Araon Kearney is also a member of the Irish Army, he is based in Collins Barracks in Cork. Kayaking is a hobby for Araon, he has been enjoying the sport for well over 10 years and he is also a member of the Defence Forces Kayak Club.

Private David Feehan is a member of the Irish Army with the last 10 years; he is based at the Irish Army Stephens Barracks in Kilkenny and is also secretary for the Defence Forces Kayak Club. Though David has been kayaking with over 10 years he only took up sea kayaking within the last 2 months and this is his first kayak challenge.

Private Stephen Happe says that the charity selection was very important, “We set out to raise awareness and €10,000 for the Suicide Prevention Charity 3T’s. We have, to date, raised just over €8,000 and it would be wonderful if anyone who can donate can do so over the next couple of days to reach our target in order to help 3T’S to provide its vital services.

Our Kayak team is at the age where at some point in our lives each of us has been impacted by suicide, it is all too frequent, so we all feel very strongly that raising not only money but also suicide prevention awareness is very important.”

The kayak team have been training for the 100 km crossing for months and have also been undertaking a series of training challenges and mentoring with the global adventure kayaker Mick O’Meara, and have completed navigational training with Dermot Greer of Sailing Ireland.

To follow the teams progress and or make a donation to the charity see https://rosslare-to-wales-kayak.everydayhero.com/ie/kayak-challange-ireland-to-wales or https://www.facebook.com/3tsKayakChallenge/

3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide) is a registered charity in Ireland founded in 2003 to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and to raise funds to help prevent future deaths by Suicide through dedicated research, intervention & support. 3Ts receive no Government funding but rely on their own fundraising activities and those of its supporters, both private and corporate.

100% of proceeds raised are being donated directly to the registered charity 3Ts (Turn the Tide of Suicide).