Published On: 28 June 2021Categories: Stories


Launceston school teacher Phil van Ryn had to wear a leotard and tutu as per the instruction of his most generous splash sponsor. He is pictured with MP Michael Ferguson who was joined by parliamentary colleagues Michelle O’Byrne and Janie Finlay.

The Blue Nips girls post their swim at East Beach, from left, Alicia, Suze and Wendy.

Hydro Tasmania executives at Hinsby Beach, Taroona.

Plucka Duck, three politicians, a banana, women in handmade Victoria-era costumes, a teacher in a leotard and a tutu; part of the contingent who plunged into the surf on Sunday at Greens Beach to raise $32,000 for our State’s most vulnerable.

Meanwhile, at Trevallyn Dam, East Beach, on the other side of the Tamar, and various other rivers and beaches, fundraisers who couldn’t make it to Greens Beach also took to the frigid waters to raise money for Loaves and Fishes.

By the time the swim ended, and with the generous financial backing of Hydro Tasmania, the equivalent of 64,000 meals (two meals for every $1) was raised through hundreds of supporters.

As we emerged from the water, Launceston teacher Phill van Ryn was the single largest fundraiser, amassing $5511 in support. His most generous contributor won the right to nominate his swimming costume, a lime green leotard pants, frilly orange tutu and a tri-colored sweatband.

The biggest fundraiser in the splash wins dinner for two at Grain of the Silos Restaurant and a night’s accommodation at Peppers Silo Hotel, both in Launceston. Splashers have until June 30 to call in their pledges.

What was meant to be a Solstice Splash to mark the shortest day of the year (June 21) was delayed a week and relocated due to flooding at Cataract Gorge.

We scrambled to change venues, helped by the good folks at West Tamar Council who helped us get the event over the line. Neville, from Greens Beach Takeaway, also stepped up to supply breakfast at a heavily discounted price.

The Launceston Examiner, LA FM and Chilli FM also helped promote the event, as did Launceston City Council.

What started as a group of mates taking a winter dip in the gorge has become 60 passionate people and hundreds of their friends, family and co-workers banding together for what will become an annual event, at multiple locations to raise money for those doing it tough in winter.


By Paul O’Rourke

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