AROUND 200 adults and children turned out at Ards Forest Park on Sunday to cycle and walk in memory of Noel McDermott (43) who died in a cycling accident near Gortahork five years ago.
Noel had been an active member of Errigal Cycling Club and its members and Chairman Eugene McGettigan wanted to do something to honour Noel’s memory and raise funds for two charities he had supported by cycling from Mizen to Malin in 2015.
Around 140 people took part in the walk through the park with 70 bikers taking part in the morning cycling event.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week Eugene explained that it did take quite a while to come up with an event which would include families.
“As a cycling club we use the roads but with Noel having been killed while training on the road we did not want to host anything on the road. Noel would have done a lot of work with the club training youths and children so we wanted to include them as well. We looked at Ards as a good safe place with good mountain bike trails and somewhere we could have a bit of fun. I had no idea when we picked the date way back, it would clash with a Donegal match which would have reduced our numbers attending the event in Ards.
“I ran the idea past Noel’s wife Afric as a lot of the club members wanted to know what they could do to remember Noel,” Eugene said.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday Afric McDermott acknowledged that she was dreading Saturday in the run-up to the event but the actual day was a huge success.
“It turned out to be a really uplifting day and lovely for the family to have such a great memory of how highly people thought of Noel. Eugene and the club members were very considerate as to how the event should be run to remember Noel. It was a very emotional day for the family,” Afric added.
She and the cycling club were delighted at the amount of money raised on Saturday which will be shared by the two charities which were so close to Noel’s heart – Donegal Spina Bifida and Pieta House.
A presentation will be made to the charities in the near future.
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