A group of local cyclists have raised more than £10,000 for NI Hospice by completing a gruelling 420-mile challenge the length of Ireland.
Newtownabbey brothers Paul and Nick Bonar organised the Mizen Head to Malin Head fundraiser in memory of their late father, Ken, who passed away 20 years ago.
They were joined by seven friends - Gary McColskey, Alan Blaney, Marty Colvin, Gary Carpenter, Mark Grain, Michael McRoberts and David McKelvey - as they saddled up for the marathon cycle from the most southerly point on the island in Co Cork to the most northerly tip in Co Donegal.
The keen cyclists, who named themselves Team M2M, set off on their epic journey on June 18, taking three-and-a-half days to complete the challenge.
“We travelled through Killarney on the first day, heading to Salthill on the second day and reached Rossnowlagh at 345 miles on the third day,” Nick Bonar explained.
“On June 21 we reached Malin Head in the pouring rain to complete the 421-mile journey. It was an amazing experience for all involved and memories of our challenge will last for many years.”
Nick thanked their support team, Ced and Des Bonar, and all those who helped make the fundraising challenge a huge success.
“Our dad passed away 20 years ago after a long illness,” Nick continued. “He was very well cared for by the staff at the Northern Ireland Hospice, so to mark the anniversary we felt it was apt to raise money for the Hospice.
“We are all very proud of our achievements on the cycle itself, and with the fundraising we have achieved for the NI Hospice, with a figure well over £10,000 so far. Thanks to all who have donated to this very worthwhile cause.”
Thanking Team M2M for their support, NI Hospice Community Fundraiser, Deirdre Melly said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed at the amount that has been raised in memory of Paul and Nick’s father, Ken, following their epic cycle challenge. On behalf of the organisation, I’d like to wholeheartedly thank Paul, Nick and the rest of the team for undertaking such an amazing challenge and raising such an outstanding amount in aid of Hospice. Whilst we’re sure this time of year is a difficult one for them, we hope they take great comfort in knowing that their donation will make a huge difference to the lives of our patients and families.
“This support comes at a time when we need it most. The race is on to complete the new Northern Ireland Hospice, with urgent support being sought from the public to help raise the £1.6million needed to complete the project. Challenges and fundraising events like these really make such a difference to us.”