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Charity Camino Cycle A ‘Monumental Success

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Just a couple of months ago a group of budding cyclists headed off to Portugal to embark on an incredible Camino journey which saw them travel over 300 kilometres. More importantly was the fact that Fort 2 Fort and event organizer, Sam Beamish, managed to raise an incredible sum of €41,000.

Following the incredible success of the annual Fort 2 Fort Charity Cycle, which began in 2012 and which has raised about €170,000 before this year’s Camino cycle, Sam wanted to do something extra special this year. Last year he found inspiration to take the cycle to the ‘Camino’ when he was on holidays in Santiago, north-east Spain. When he realised that many people completed the famous route not just on foot but also by bike, he immediately set the wheels in motion and started to plan the logistics of how to best manage the trip. The official launch of the event took place in early April of this year, but the work that went into the initial planning started way back in October of 2018.

After spending quite a few months on recruiting people for the trip, Sam eventually got 15 people, including himself, on-board. Some of these were from the Carrigaline Lion’s Club, with Sam, Conor Phelan and Mark Ginn all making the journey. Others involved were local residents, Wesley and Lorraine Taylor, Tracton (Owners of Express Tyres). Of the 15 that went, 13 cycled the Camino while 2 travelled in the support vehicle all along the way. Originally Sam wanted to raise somewhere around €6,000, with all those taking part needing to raise a minimum of €400 for charity. However, all of the cyclists went above and beyond this figure and raised an incredible amount of money themselves. Sam also told The Carrigdhoun Newspaper that there was one private donation for €12,000 made directly to the Mercy Hospital related to the cycle from a “grateful patient” of Professor Carl Vaughan, a great supporter of Fort 2 Fort and an avid cyclist himself. A number of other events to raise money were also organised before they set off in October, with Sam’s wife holding a garden party which went on to collect over €2,000 from friends and neighbours.

The cycle itself was “challenging” according to Sam, who tells The Carrigdhoun Newspaper that some of the off-road tracks were particularly difficult and tough to manage. However, over the four days of their cycle, at a pace of about 10 kilometres an hour, the group stuck together and when they reached their finishing point they had travelled over 300kms. While the physical side of it was a battle, Sam says that they encountered some funny tales along the way, including being given a big sign of support from local school children in one small village. They also managed to reconnect an old women, from a “town in the middle of nowhere”, with her two kid goats that she had lost further up the road.

Overall the trip was a “monumental success” according to Sam, who says that it was truly “an experience of a lifetime.” A big congratulations to everyone who helped in this incredible event, including local business Rashr (owned by Thomas Cotter), who designed their cycle clothing! and to all who contributed towards the huge amount of money that was raised. A special mention must go to Sam Beamish and everyone else who travelled to Portugal for the trip; Mark Ginn, Conor Phelan, Wesley Taylor, Lorraine Taylor, Michael Sheridan, Mark Whittaker, J.P O’Byrne, Ann Blackburne, Patricia O’Leary, Arthur O’Leary, Seamus McEvoy, Orla Mellerick and Jim Whittaker. Sam, wanting to express his gratitude told the Carrigdhoun, “I want to give a huge thanks to all those who participated and gave a week of their time and a massive thanks to the huge support that we got locally, raising €41,00 is unbelievable as far as I’m concerned.”

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