THE fundraising event, which began over 30 years ago, is not only a way to help support the work of Enable Ireland but is also a great day out for all the family – so said the chairman of the Castletown Kinneigh fundraising committee, Joe McCarthy.
‘We had the first formal meeting of the Castletown Kinneigh committee in 1977. The fundraising started as a way to support a number of children in our community that were availing of the services provided at the Cork Spastic Clinic as it was known then and we now continue the work on behalf of Enable Ireland,’ Joe said.
The community rallied together to support a number of children in the area and with the committee now in place the first major event which was held with great success was a Christmas bazaar.
‘Gerry and the late Eileen McSweeney were the people who organised the first meeting and it was at this that it was decided that we would work to support Enable Ireland as it is today. Seamus Dullea was another person who was instrumental in getting the fundraising off the ground. We decided on a bring and buy or as we called it a Christmas Bazaar,’ Joe continued.
The Christmas Bazaar is still going strong and is a major event in its own right.Then in 1983 the idea for a cycle rally took shape.
‘We used to have a donkey derby during the summer months as well and along with the Christmas Bazaar we raised over €4,000 which was a lot of month back then. After about five years a lad came to me and told me that he and his friends were planning a cycle up to Cork City and back again.
‘This was a sponsored event and they decided to donate the money to our group. And with this the Castletown Kinneigh Cycle Rally got underway,’ Joe said.
Then, in 2006 the annual event also began to include all those who wanted to walk a route in support of Enable Ireland as well. ‘ We now have two routes one for walkers and one for the cyclists. We no longer go all the way to Cork City but stick to the local area,’ Joe continued.
Now, with over 200 people turning out for the event each year the people of Castletown Kinneigh and the surrounding areas have managed to raise almost €500,000 since the first fundraiser was held over 30 years ago.
‘We are incredibly grateful to the people of Castletown Kinneigh and their fundraising committee who have worked so hard for over three decades to support Enable Ireland. It is because of the continued hard work and dedication of the Castletown Kinneigh committee, who are our longest running fundraisers, and the many other groups and individuals across the county that Enable Ireland will continue to provide the support and services to those that need it,’ Donal Cashman, chairman of Enable Ireland told The Southern Star.
Enable Ireland’s proposed new purpose-built facility, which will be located at what was once the ESB Social Club in Curraheen, is now in the planning phase and the Castletown Kinneigh group are working hard to support this major development for the many children who use Enable Ireland’s services across the county.
‘The loyalty and commitment shown by the Castletown Kinneigh fundraising committee to Enable Ireland is an example of community fundraising at its best.
‘Castletown and its surrounds have been supporting our organisation for over 30 years. The spirit and drive of the people in West Cork is a great match for our organisation and we have come to rely on them.
‘The whole community rows in behind the two fundraising events which have huge appeal. People of all ages can participate in both and they are very popular for the time of year each are run.’ said Mr Cashman.
‘It means a lot to Enable Ireland that whilst our focus is the provision of expert services to children and adults with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities, there are groups like Castletown in the community working away behind the scenes giving us the extra boost we need,’ Maria Desmond, community fundraiser for Enable Ireland told the Southern Star.
This year’s rally, which gets underway on Sunday June 26th at 3pm is expected to be another great success.
‘We’ll be setting off from Barrett’s in Coppeen at 3pm sharp. The cyclists and the walkers set off at the same time, on different routes, and then it’s back for refreshments and prizes afterwards. Year after year we see people turning out to support us and we are so thankful to everybody who takes part. I must also mention all those who work behind the scenes so to speak to ensure that all those taking part are safe on the roads and of course well fed when they return.
‘We like to run this even the old fashion way with sponsorship cards and if anyone would like to take part they can collect a card or a few cards from any member of the committee or by contacting myself on 087 146 9473. We look forward to seeing you all in Coppeen on June 26,’ Joe McCarthy concluded.