24-hour walk across Donegal part of three-day challenge

Georgina Given, Joan Freeman, Founder of Pieta House, Pat Freeman, Thomas Given and Joe Coyle.

Georgina Given, Joan Freeman, Founder of Pieta House, Pat Freeman, Thomas Given and Joe Coyle.

TWO Donegal man are undertaking a mammoth three-day challenge next month in aid of Pieta House North West.
Downings native Joe Coyle (56), a financial broker who now calls Mountcharles home, and Thomas Given from Copany, who is a director of North West Alarms, hope to raise up to €50,000 through their cycle, islands walk and 24-hour walk on June 17-19.
“Two years ago we walked from Mountcharles to Downings in aid of the Galway Cancer Bus and we knew that if we were ever to do something similar again it would have to be bigger, faster and much, much further.
“So we’ve come up with a three-day event which starts with a cycle from Mountcharles to Burtonport on the Friday, a walk around the islands of Arranmore, Gola and Tory – ending in Downings – on the Saturday and then a 24-hour walk from Downings back to Mountcharles over Meenaroy and the Bluestacks on the Sunday,” Joe Coyle explained.
“The purpose of the exercise is to light a fire which, ultimately, we hope will lead to the establishment of a Pieta House in the North West,” he added.
Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, opened its doors a decade ago with Lucan the centre of operations. In the intervening years they have seen and helped over 20,000 people in suicidal distress or engaging in self-harm.
At present, there are nine Pieta Houses in Ireland – the nearest to Donegal being in Tuam. Last year, in excess of 5,000 people came through its doors suffering from suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harm.
“Eighty-five per cent of Pieta House’s money comes through fund-raising and we want to play our part. We’ve set an ambitious target of raising €50,000. It will cost between €200,000 and €300,000 to set up a Pieta House in Donegal. We hope to start a fire and I’ve no doubt that there’s more than enough people out there to keep it lit – the problem is getting the fire started,” Mr Coyle said.
The cycle and walk co-incides with the Donegal International Rally weekend and with a permit secured for a county-wide bucket collection on Saturday, June 18, they’re hopeful of getting a positive response.
“We’re looking for volunteers to help with the bucket collection on the Saturday while we’re also looking for corporate sponsors to come on board. We’re going to make it happen,” he said.
Thomas Given, who scored over 150 goals for Copany Rovers, is a keen marathon runner while Joe Coyle prefers to walk.
“Thomas is already fit and I’ll have a job keeping up with him but sure we’ll see how it goes. Walking was my thing and I had hardly been on a bike until earlier this year. This weekend I’m taking part in a charity cycle from Sligo to Cork so, hopefully, that will stand to me come next month,” he said.
For event details or anyone who would like to donate contact Joe (087) 257-9931, Thomas (087) 2215-300 or text PH4 to 50300 to donate €4. Find out more and donate on

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