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Stroke of luck sees Michael reunited with long-lost Channel swim trophy

September 22nd, 2020 10:10 PM

By Emma Connolly

The cup with Michael Jennings name inscribed on it.

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A TROPHY that was found in a charity shop in Kealkil has been reunited with its owner who got it for swimming the English Channel – but who hadn’t seen it in 50 years.

Michael Jennings was presented with the silverware for swimming the channel, (his first time), in 1960. The sprightly 82-year-old who lives in Kent last saw it in 1970 when he divorced his wife and ‘overlooked taking it with me’.

He’s one of only 10 people to swim the Channel both ways, and while he had many more swimming successes over the years, this cup meant the most to him, but he had given up on it.

Michael receiving the cup in 1960.

 

However, he hadn’t banked on the intrepid, investigative powers of Dunmanway man Dave Dineen, who last September bought it in Kealkil’s charity shop.

A few days later he noticed an inscription that read: ‘Presented to Michael Jennings by Gravesend swimming club on completion of his Channel Swim on 1st August 1960.’

‘I had the cup on display with my keys in it and every time I saw it, I felt a duty to try and figure out who it belonged to. Over the next few months I searched and searched for information, but the last date I had for Michael was 2010, so I presumed he must be dead.’

Last week, Dave was watching Coronation St when he got a phone call out of the blue from a number he didn’t recognise.

‘Having no glasses on, I put it down as a scam call, only to get a message asking me to answer. “Hello, I hear you have been looking for me, my name is Micheal Jennings” came the voice at the other end of the phone. I nearly dropped!’

Now the pair want the public’s help in finding out how the trophy ended up in Kealkil.

The shop in Kealkil where Dave Dineen found it last September. But nobody knows who gave it to the charity shop, and why.

 

‘I don’t think my ex- wife had any contacts with West Cork and I’d dearly love to fill the gaps,’ said Michael, who only finished swimming competitively two years ago, aged 80.

Dave returned to the charity shop to let staff know the happy ending, but they didn’t have any leads either.

‘Somebody has loved and cared for this amazing cup and Michael and I would love to know where it has been,’ added Dave.

If anyone has information contact [email protected]

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