One year on from their epic fundraiser for Marie Curie, McQuillan GA&CC and Carey Faughs finally got the opportunity to officially present the local Marie Curie group with the fruits of their fundraising labour.
When lockdown first hit last year, the Clubs soon rallied to see what they could do to help those in need. The neighbouring Clubs left their on pitch rivalry to the side to unite forces to raise much needed funds for Marie Curie.
The charity had issued an ‘Emergency Appeal’ due to Covid19 putting fundraising on hold, with funds for Nurses and Hospices being needed more than ever. Both clubs have several links to those involved in the local Marie Curie group, so it made sense to work together to raise as much as possible for this much needed service. Marie Curie’s biggest fundraiser takes place at the Lammas Fair and with the historic event cancelled due to the pandemic, funds needed to come from somewhere.
This incredible fundraiser involved club members of all ages, as they used their daily exercise during the lockdown, to clock up their kilometres by running, walking or cycling, leaving the event organisers to collate the distances and report on the daily totals.
It created a great buzz for everyone involved and the Club Social Media platforms were used to keep everyone motivated and informed. Photos and videos were pulled together and shared and really captured the spirit of what the Clubs wanted to achieve; keeping interaction amongst Club members, albeit virtually or passing by on a walk. It was a great boost for participants physical and mental health too.
It had been originally planned for the squads to take on the challenge to race from ‘Fairhead to New York’, but such was the response they ‘arrived’ in New York in just 3 days clocking up an amazing 5,855.71km, exceeding all expectations. The organising committee said: “We decided to keep the challenge going and to continue on to Australia adding a further 16,020km to the journey’.
This target was again smashed and the clubs made it to Sydney with 5 days to spare. The group realised the momentum but also the challenge it would be to then ‘get back home’ again, but the groups within the clubs, not just the players but the ‘Carey Fit Club’ and ‘MacUilín Brighter Nights’ crew plus the Committee and Supporters groups were all keen to keep going until the new challenge was met and that they did.
Within the 14 Day target that was set, they collectively covered a massive 40,592.93km through running, walking and cycling, a phenomenal effort. The equivalent distance of travelling from Fairhead to Sydney via New York and back home to Ballycastle again, with 2,463.93km to spare. That’s a lot of exercise!
The clubs had originally set a fundraising target of £2000, however this amount was amazingly surpassed with a final grand total of £17,507.25 pledged to support Marie Curie.
The phenomenal community spirit at such a difficult time was heart-warming and a pleasure to be a part of for all involved.
Winnie McGarry, the Treasurer of Marie Curie Moyle group said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response – the Clubs came to us with this idea and the uptake was just brilliant; it was fantastic and shows how generous everyone is in times of crisis, especially in these uncertain times, where there are many individuals and organisations in need.”
With lockdown restrictions now beginning to ease, the official handover photo became possible, albeit that the funds raised all went directly to Marie Curie via Just Giving at the time.
Pictured at Ballycastle Seafront, with the striking Fairhead in the background, are Members of both GAA Clubs – the event organisers, Martin McAuley, Úna Kelly, Cíara and Caoimhe McShane and James Mulholland. Accepting the cheque on behalf of the local Marie Curie group are Winnie McGarry, Sharon McClean and Briege McGarry.