Friday, September 2, 2011

By Alanah Eriksen

Picture of happiness: Ronan Keating and his wife Yvonne shared a very public smooch after he completed a 56-nautical mile race to relay to raise money for Cancer Research UK

He admitted an affair with one of his dancers last year so it's no wonder Ronan Keating is going to great lengths to prove his marriage is well and truly back on track.

The Boyzone frontman played up to the cameras after finishing a charity swim he organised across the Irish sea yesterday.

His wife Yvonne wrapped her hands around her husband's face as the couple shared a public kiss in front of the hundreds waiting to congratulate him.

The couple briefly split last year and it was revealed Ronan had had an affair with Francine Cornell, who toured with his band.

But they were a picture of happiness yesterday as Ronan clutched a well-deserved glass of hot whiskey to toast his success, clad in a white robe.

While back on dry land, the 34-year-old said of the relay: 'It was daunting, it was frightening, As we went along we all found our rhythm and pace - the deep ocean swim was tough, your imagination was running away with you. But it's a euphoric feeling.'

Cheers! Ronan toasts his success with a glass of hot whiskey at Wicklow, just south of Dublin

He added: 'It's the toughest challenge I've ever come up against.'

Ronan led a team of celebrities including Olympic medallist swimmer Steve Parry, TV presenters Jenny Frost and Jason Bradbury, and Strictly star Pamela Stephenson.

They arrived at Wicklow, just south of Dublin about 8.18am, 35 hours after jumping into the sea off Holyhead in Anglesey, North Wales, at 9pm Tuesday.

The team all jumped in the sea at the end of the 56-nautical mile (65 land mile) swim, which raised money for Cancer Research UK, to finish the relay together.

Ronan revealed the group encountered lots of lion's mane jellyfish.

Over the worst: The couple briefly split last year and it was revealed Ronan had had an affair with Francine Cornell, 27, who toured with his band

Victory: The Boyzone frontman let out a massive cheer as he finished the relay which he hoped would raise £1million

‘Some of the team were stung on the face and on the arms. I didn’t get stung thank God but I saw a lot of them.

‘I swam into them and came back out of it.’

Ronan kept his Twitter followers up-to-date with the team's progress throughout the relay.

On Wednesday he said: 'Just finished my 3rd swim. An hour in the Irish sea is no walk in the park but feeling fantastic team are rocking.'

And later joked: 'I can smell the Guinness we are so close. Wonder if Gibneys in Malahide would stay open for the team ?'

By yesterday, he sounded more exhausted, sharing: 'Tried to sleep but can't its 4am tides have slowed us down but pushing through. So close.'

Finish line: Ronan (second right), arrives at Wicklow with his celebrity team and 'super swimmers' who helped the group out in the relay

This will warm you up: The Irish singer, standing next to Pamela Stephenson, is handed a glass of hot whiskey by his sister Linda

And when the team finally reached the shore, Ronan couldn't contain his excitement.

'My Twitter went down Just as we came into Dublin Typical,' he said.

'Cant believe we finally finished what an incredible feeling Thank u to everyone. X'

He added later: 'Just got home after finishing @JoinTheSwim. Exhausted but what a buzz 35 hours of intense sea swimming from the team . X'

Ronan came up with the idea for the swim with Sir Richard Branson, who was also due to take part in the relay but pulled out at the weekend after his Caribbean home on Necker Island burned to the ground.

Ready to rock: The team (L-R) Steve Parry, Pamela, Ronan, Jenny Frost and Jason Bradbury at Holyhead Sailing Club on Tuesday

Team spirit: Keating, pictured with teammate Pamela (left), was supported by his wife Yvonne before the team set off on Tuesday

He was the first into the freezing water at Holyhead - dressed like the others in a black and gold wetsuit and pink swimming cap - where he swam for an hour before the next celebrity took over.

Accompanying the team were 'super swimmers' ready to help out during the relay.

A safety team on canoes were also on hand to keep a close eye on them.

The group aimed to raise £1million, having already received over £200,000 in sponsorship.

Technology giant Samsung, was to donate £3,500 to every mile the team complete.

Brrrrrrrrrrr: Ronan was first in the water as he swam for an hour for the first part of the 56 nautical mile swim across the Irish Sea

Hope the wetsuit keeps the cold out: A nervous Ronan stands on a quayside in Holyhead as he prepares to wade into the sea

Ronan is known as quite the philanthropist when it comes to cancer charities, having established the Marie Keating Foundation in his native Ireland in memory of his mother, who died from breast cancer in 1998.

Pamela Stephenson said the crossing had been terrifying and challenging, but rewarding.

'We set off in the dark, it was just all your worst fears - the darkness, the cold, the fears of the unknown, but the Irish Sea was actually fantastic to us. It was amazing to leave one country and put your feet down in another country.'

The cause is close to Snog, Marry, Avoid presenter Frost after she lost her mother Rita to lung cancer in January 2010, while Stephenson supported her best friend during a breast cancer battle in 2009.

Feeling nervous: An official in a canoe keeps a close eye on the singer as he wades into the Irish Sea

Freezing! Jenny Frost looks alarmed as she jumps in the water for the part in the swim relay


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