A FUNDRAISING swim across the English Channel by Pacific Towing general manager Neil Papenfus has raised more than three times the original target.

Mr Papenfus is preparing to swim across the channel in October this year to raise money for people living with disabilities in Papua New Guinea.

PacTow, a marine services company based in PNG, said a “significant contribution” from Swire Shipping helped the fundraiser exceed its targets.

Mr Papenfus had initially set out to raise PGK100,000 (around $44,000) for Cheshire Disability Services (CDS).

The upcoming swim has now generated more than PGK300,000 in support (around $132,000).

PacTow said Swire Shipping had pledged US$10,000 in early 2023 but increased their support to help CDS purchase a vehicle and upgrade buildings.

“Swire Shipping has a longstanding commitment to supporting the people and communities of Papua New Guinea,” Swire Shipping GM (Pacific) Randy Selvaratnam said.

 “We were inspired by the efforts of Cheshire Disability Services and hope that our donation will go some way towards improving the lives of people living with disabilities.”

CDS general manager Benson Hahambu said he was thrilled when Mr Papenfus first announced fundraiser.

“I remember wondering if Neil’s goal of PGK100,000 was even possible so you can imagine how surprised and absolutely delighted we were at the response,” he said.

“It’s not just the PGK300,000 of cash, goods, and services resulting from the English Channel fundraiser that is very important to Cheshire Disability Services and the people we help, but the media coverage and therefore greater awareness people have of the work we do.”

“Life is extra hard anywhere in the world when you have a disability but in developing countries, especially in one where disabilities are so stigmatised, it is even harder.

“We want everyone in PNG to know that our brothers and sisters living with disabilities have a lot to contribute to our country’s development and that we just need to provide them with the support and opportunities to do so.”

PacTow said the money, vehicle and building upgrades pledged as part of the English Channel fundraiser would enable CDS to continue to provide its services and into remoter parts of PNG.