EARLY in 2012, Maura Scannell, a voluntary driver for Cancer Connect, made a suggestion to Jim Murphy, a keen cyclist, about organising a charity cycle to raise funds.
He spoke to his fellow group of cyclists – Angus O’Connor, Michael Murphy, John O’Brien and John O’Neill – who agreed to help him.
More local volunteer drivers for Cancer Connect, Breda O’Hea and Sinead Crowley, were enlisted, along with IT expert Michael Kenneally, photographer Paddy Feen, Community Garda Liam Ryan and catering co-ordinator Maureen Griffin.
Other committee members on board in various roles since the inception of the cycle were Mike Deasy, Liam Falvey, Brendan Collins, Seamus O’Brien, Noel O’Callaghan and Mary Corcoran.
The second Saturday of September became the agreed date and it remained that way for six years, changing this year to a week earlier to accommodate requests from cyclists.
Two routes, both scenic and challenging, were stewarded and serviced every year with refreshment stations on both managed by Maureen Griffin and Breda O’Hea.
Water and Fruit stops were also set up and managed by Rena Moriarty, Noel Calnan, Caroline Hayes and their teams.
Over the seven years, many people have volunteered their time for the organising and running of the cycle, ensuring the smooth and safe running of the event for everyone on the day. The support received from sponsors has been immeasurable and gave the cycle the distinctive position of an abundance of refreshments being available to everyone taking part for a very nominal cost.
Cancer Connect, CoAction West Cork, Cope (Teach Cairde) and Marymount Hospice have been the main beneficiaries over the lifetime of the cycle with donations also being made to West Cork Rapid Response, Clonakilty Special Olympics, Clonakilty Community Care, Just-One, Pieta House, Irish Wheelchair Association, St Vincent de Paul Society, Cork Arc House - Bantry Branch, Cork Samaritans, Feileacain, West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue, Clonakilty Community Youth Centre and Feel Good Youth Programme.
The cycle committee thanked everyone who sponsored and volunteered over the years and, above all, everyone who cycled and donated, enabling funds to be given to Cork charities and organisations providing vital services to everyone in the community.
Funds of €19,000 were distributed this year as follows: Cancer Connect €5,000; CoAction West Cork €5,000; Cope - Teach Cairde - €5,000; West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue €1,000; Clonakilty Community Youth Centre €1,000; West Cork Youth Mental Health €1,000 and Clonakilty Community Care €1,000.