A Kerrykeel man will begin a charity cycle from Clydebank in Scotland to Kerrykeel on Saturday, to benefit St. Margaret of Scotland Hospice in Clydebank.
After Hugh Friel and two other cyclists arrive in Kerrykeel, there is also a dance planned at the Mulroy Woods Hotel in Milford on the evening of April 3rd to benefit Donegal Hospice, with entertainment by the band Off the Kuff.
Hugh wanted to support the Clydebank hospice because his late sister Maureen was a ward manager there for 10 years. After Maureen was diagnosed with cancer, she passed away after a short battle in that same hospice last June.
“I was amazed at what all these special people do, not only for the patients but for their families,” Hugh said. He said most of his large family are in Donegal and when they were in Clydebank, “the staff were just so caring to us all”.
Hugh is cycling with Rui Rosa and Paul Stitt - Paul will travel from Belfast to Clydebank to join the three from the start of the cycle.
“We were out one night and I said we must do something for the hospice and it just came out of my mouth - we’ll do a cycle,” Hugh recalled. He said he hadn’t cycled in 35 years or more before starting to train for this event in January.
“We’ll do it,” he said. He said he wanted to make as big an effort as he could for the charity, “as we have nothing but overwhelming gratitude toward them”.
Hugh has lived in Scotland for a little more than three years, after heading over for work. He picked Kerrykeel as their destination because of his family connections there.
Day one of the charity cycle, April 1st, will see the cyclists travel from Clydebank to Cairnryan, and stopping in Belfast overnight. On day two they leave Belfast, travelling the Glenshane Pass to Dungiven. The third and final day will take them from Dungiven through Derry and Letterkenny, to their final stop, outside the Village Inn in Kerrykeel.
Hugh said they hope to arrive in Kerrykeel at about 6.30pm on Monday, April 3rd.
They are also promoting the cycle in local and national media all along the way. They have already raised more than £2,600 through the online collection, www.justgiving.com/HUGH-FRIEL.
He said they were also grateful to sponsors such as Colin Brown, originally of Drumahoe in Derry, who is project director of SDH Project Services in West Yorkshire and who sponsored their back-up vehicle, travel costs and cycling tops; and Siobhan Barrett of Mulroy Woods Hotel for providing them with accommodation and use of a hall for Monday night’s dance, among others.
“It’s all for a good cause, so the more we raise the better,” he said.