Deirdre McShane, a 58-year-old mother of two from Co Antrim, was part of an informal group of mostly female swimmers who regularly gathered at the beach in Ballycastle to swim in the sea.
Sadly, Ms McShane got into difficulty during one of her regular swims before work on Monday, December 9 and lost her life.
Another woman got into difficulty on the same morning in Ballycastle and was rescued by a passer-by.
Ms McShane’s daughter Roisin has started an online fundraiser to benefit the charity Northern Ireland Air Ambulance.
“Mammy tragically lost her life to the sea last Monday,” she said.
Writing on social media website Facebook, the grieving daughter added: “Air Ambulance were in attendance that morning.
“She was a great admirer of Dr John Hinds who was an advocate for Air Ambulance NI. We as a family would be grateful for any donations towards this essential service.”
Within hours, her charity appeal had raised thousands.
This morning, her target of £1,000 in donations had been far exceeded with around £5,000 pledged by generous members of the public, as well as family and friends.
Some of those who donated wrote touching messages of support for the family.
“A pleasure to support this initiative in memory of a fine person,” wrote one.
Another said: “You are an inspiration to us all Roisin, donation made with lots of love.”
There were also donations made in lieu of flowers for Ms McShane’s funeral.
Deirdre McShane was laid to rest on Friday following a funeral service conducted by Fr Brendan Hickland, a relative of Ms McShane, in St Mary’s and St Joseph’s Church, Ballintoy, Co Antrim.
Fr Hickland described her as “a blessing to so many”.
He said: “Her hands and feet visiting countless new mothers advising them to feed their babies naturally, and holding countless numbers of babies, some she helped deliver and hold in infancy, the countless phone calls made to check if mothers and families were OK.
“Her energy and enthusiasm were infectious and when Joe and herself went out together they oozed contentment and enjoyment where others sometimes just lived life as just another day.”
She was interred afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.