The world record for the longest human thumb wrestling chain was smashed in Carrick-on-Suir last Saturday in what the town’s mayor has described as a triumph of community spirit.
A total of 1599 men, women and children took part in the “Bridge Link” world record organised to raise funds to assist 47 year-old mother-of-four Carmel Nolan Burns, a native of Main Street, Carrick, whose left leg was recently amputated from the hip to treat cancer in her pelvis.
The huge turnout comfortably surpassed the world record of 957 set in Osaka, Japan in August last year.
The human chain began on Carrick’s Main Street, stretched down Bridge Street over the Old Bridge, through Carrickbeg, over Dillon Bridge and ended back at Main Street.
Volunteers from a huge range of sporting and social clubs, voluntary organisations and schools from Carrick and its surrounding rural communities took part in the world record. All participating groups were encouraged to wear their club colours or uniform, which created a colourful spectacle. It took about an hour for everyone to assemble along the route.
Then shortly before 3pm the starting horn was blown and the giant human chain began the five minute long thumb wrestle. Participants chanted: “1,2,3,4, I declare a thumb war” as the minutes ticked by.
The feat was recorded on video and extensively photographed on the ground by members of Carrick-on-Suir Camera Club and aerial shots were also taken. A local referee, solicitor and garda were on hand to verify the world record for the Guinness Book of Records.
Marguerite Hassett was among a contingent of about 40 members of Comeragh Rangers Football Club in Rathgormack, who took part in the human chain. “ The atmosphere was great and everyone really enjoyed it. It was really well run and took a lot of organising,” she said.
Michael Purcell and his son Cathal were part of the Carrick Wheeler Cycle Club group that took part in the event.
Michael said they learned about the world record attempt on the Club’s Facebook page and decided to support it because it was a good cause.
World record attempt coordinator John Maher said they were delighted with the turnout and public response to their fundraising appeal. “We just didn’t expect that number of people. The town’s shop keepers were also delighted as the event brought a lot of people into the town.”
Carmel Nolan-Burns, who lives in Newtown, Co. Waterford, was there to witness the world record attempt with members of her family. Mayor of Carrick Cllr Kieran Bourke, who was among a host of local politicians supporting the event, said it highlighted the huge community spirit of the people of Carrick-on-Suir and its hinterland. “It just shows the spirit of the people of Carrick comes up trump every time,” he said.