Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Mizen2Malin charity cycle raises £22K for Hospice and Marie Curie

A very special cheque presentation was made this weekend as the team behind the Mizen2Malin charity cycle handed over a staggering £22,200 raised in aid of the Southern Area Hospice and Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of  the late Eugene Donaghy from Crossmaglen, a tireless community volunteer and great friend to many.

Welcoming everyone to the cheque handover, which took place in the Cross Square Hotel on  Saturday night, the new owner of the hotel and the man who spearheaded the Mizen2Malin cycle, Gerard McMonagle, paid special tribute to Eugene – his close friend and colleague and founder of the town’s fire station, who passed away in October 2014 following a protracted battle with cancer.

During an emotional night filled with memories of the inimitable “people’s champion”, Gerard spoke about how the idea for the charity cycle was formed during a night out with Eugene’s former NIFRS colleagues at Christmas 2014, where the team decided to organise a fundraising event in aid of the Hospice and Marie Curie – both services which Eugene had high praise for during his illness.

Despite numerous setbacks and injuries to cyclists which threatened to force the postponement of the much anticipated event, after 6 months of training and dedicated organisation, the cycle finally took place place on the 27th – 29th June, raising thousands for two very worthy charities.

Guests at the cheque presentation were treated to slideshows of the 367 mile cycle from Ireland’s most southerly point to its most northerly tip and of many of the fundraising events which took place in the build up to the challenge.

Gerard expressed his thanks to the team of cyclists – Michael Cowan, Ruari Traynor, Pablo Alverez, Pat O’Hare, Gerard McKenna, JB Murphy, Damien Duggan – and extended a special thank you to the wives, girlfriends and partners for their support and patience throughout the year.

The cycle support team and chase team were also commended for their vital roles, as was James Boyle for his efforts in organising stewarding at road events throughout the year and The Examiner’s very own Josephine Murray for gaining most of the sponsorship for the cycle.

Much appreciation was shown for main sponsor Chain Reaction Cycles who provided kits, bike parts and cycling accessories for the challenge as well as sponsors MT Waste, Superbites, The Examiner Newspaper and CR Morrow as well all the local businesses and individuals who donated throughout the year.

Members of Crossmaglen Community Association, Crossmaglen Safety Group, Crossmaglen Rangers, Councillor Terry Hearty and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council were also given a special mention for all their help during fundraising events before members of the Donaghy family presented the cycle team with their medals.

A presentation of flowers and gifts was also made to the formidable females behind the event: Josephine Murray, Ciara Murphy, Joanne Brady, Tina Murray, Margarete Donaghy, Kathy Donaghy, Joanne Murphy, Bernie Kiernan,  Geraldine McMonagle and Elizabeth Murray with a special presentation given to Eugene’s widow.

Finally came the grand total announcement of £22,200.20 which was duly handed over to Marie Curie representative Eimear McCooey and Hospice representative Charlotte O’Neill, who both expressed their utmost gratitude for the outstanding efforts made by all involved to raise such an amazing amount of money which will go a long way to helping both charities continue with their vital services.