"Pride in our Parish" day was planned for the first time this year specifically to raise funds for improvements in and around our local Church - St. Patrick's (R.C.).
The date chosen - October 23rd - was possibly an unwise choice, due to the possibility of inclement weather, and that's exactly what happened! At 9.00 a.m., the weather looked reasonably good, but the weather forecast said that extremely bad weather would arrive at mid-day; and arrive it did, resulting in the various fund-raising events being called off, except for the Cake Sale, which went ahead in the church porch.
The entire programme was deferred to the following Sunday, October 30th, but this day's weather was just about as bad. Nevertheless, two events went ahead as planned:- (1) a 50 km Sponsored Cycle Run, and (2) a 5 km Sponsored Walk and Cycle Run.
Only the hardiest turned for each event. As the first event was starting, a continuous mist was falling, but still all the multi-coloured and well-equipped participants headed off in a joyful mood. At the commencement of the second event, 1.5 hours later, the rain was worsening and wind was increasing. However, once more those hardy ones who turned up, including some very young enthusuastic children, all headed off also, again in a great mood. Photography was difficult due to rain-drops on lenses, but as things worsened I used an umbrella. However, using an umbrella in one hand and a heavy SLR camera in the other doesn't lead to perfect pictures all the time, so I had to discard about 1/3rd of my work.
The day's efforts, including the cake sale and donations from some individuals, realised the fine sum of approx. €4,500; an excellent result, which would have been doubled or trebled if the weather had been better.
The Day we had ‘Pride in our Parish’ (reprinted, with permission, from the Parish Newsletter of November 7th 2011)
October 23rd: Having received the update on weather the decision to postpone to Sunday of last week was made. Cakes had been donated very kindly for our first attempt on the 23rd were set up in the main porch and were joined by the lads selling the burgers we had hoped to barbecue later. The scene was surreal as Fr. Ned came down and stood in the main door after saying Mass, chatting with our mass-goers cum cake and burger buyers and youngsters disappointed that we had to postpone all the fun. Outside in the car park, our small committee was sending home the bouncy castle, the goals and the young people who were going to help us out for the day. After making the cancellation phone-calls to more people we headed home wringing wet, hungry but spirits still raised, and started organising for our evening entertainment which was going ahead. Take away food eaten (no substitute for Sunday roast) the girls sorted out the tickets and the prizes for the raffle. The night goes well and the lads did great selling the tickets and there was great banter with all there. We were ready for Sunday week, after a couple of get-togethers to copper-fasten arrangements, a leaflet drop was organised and the lads were sent out to the doors.
October 30th: The Sunday dawned, up got the ladies to make the sandwiches for the second time and the men went off to put up the safety signs along the route, collect tables and chairs from the hall and set up the car park. The weather was fine; we thought it would last the day but sadly no. The church porch had to be the makeshift market for the second Sunday to sell the second lot of donated cakes. The early morning sunshine didn’t last as the time edged toward noon; the cyclists were arriving for the 50K bicycle run and the mist was falling as the registration was taking place. Bikes were being checked, donations handed over, numbers pinned on backs, helmets tightened, the odd jibe thrown as the men and one lady got ready for the off. All lined up for photographs before the lead van drove down the Chapel Hill followed by the cyclists followed by another van. The men and women of the Red Cross were on hand all day to help out if anybody needed medical assistance and we are grateful for their support as the event could not have gone ahead without them. The bouncy castle arrived in a trailer but had to be sent home, the clown for sponge throwing was sent away sad, the lads with the soccer goal had to undo their work and remove the lot, the sliotar and churn to arrive later had to be cancelled on route. Registration moved to the men’s porch. The cyclists, runners and walkers took off despite the miserable weather but that’s all that was miserable about last Sunday’s events. After a few ‘rules’ laid out by Fr. Ned to everybody setting out on the 5 mile, they were off and after a late call back by someone on the committee Fr. Ned eventually got going and Jimmy Burrows had to run down the hill to catch up with walking partner Cllr. Brendán. A lady from Ballyknock whose husband had went on the 50K arrived for the previously arranged 2pm start and was brought by car to catch up with group. The BBQ equipment arrived first in the car-park and then in to the yard at the men’s door thinking we might get a small break in the weather for when the brave participants got back, alas no. The tea, coffee, squash and hot chocolate were up and running inside the church with the Burco steaming until a fuse went and had to be replaced. Despite the rain pouring down the spirit of the returning hardy participants couldn’t be dampened as the runners started to arrive back, asking Jack “how did it go?” he says “it was only four miles you know”. He looked as if he could have run another ten. Claire and Michael discussed the final climb up the hill as she said “well, it’s done.” Local TD Paudie arrived back, water dripping off him after cycling, crossing the line with the young cyclists that got away from the group. Abbie arrived dry and fresh as a daisy having been pushed along in her buggy. Mary, one of our stewards took off to walk at a dash and told us she would be back to steward for the return of the 50K bikers and she was. The walkers and rest of cyclists also spilled in to the church where there was a real sense of pride and achievement and energy in the air. We all enjoyed the cuppa and the banter was electric, there were great laughs as each one shared their experience. Thank you to everyone who ran walked or cycled and those who helped on the very small committee. We are grateful to those who typed, copied, delivered publicity leaflets, looked for sponsorship, stewarded the routes, baked not once but twice, bought twice, boiled Burcos and set up car park for events, sponsored burgers and buns, supplied bouncy castle, bought and sold wristbands and tickets, donated vouchers, volunteered to man stalls, made publicity posters, registered the participants, got numbers and pins, drive front and rear vans, set up for refreshment, etc. We also acknowledge the great support we received from those who could not attend but sponsored others. A big Thank You to all. We saw pride taken in our parish, in our church, in our community you led the way. (reprinted also from the Parish Newsletter, with kind permission) We salute those hardy men and one lady who braved the mist and the miles as they headed for Carrickbeg. We’re conscious of the sprightly septuagenarian who brought his four sons for the spin. Trevor in the leading van left the starting line in pursuit of potassium: a bunch of bananas! The eager bikers couldn’t wait and headed off down the Chapel Hill as he came up against them! A quartet of novices borrowed bikes and cycled off, their GAA togs flapping in the wind and rain. The stewards ushered the cyclists safely through Portlaw and out at Mayfield Cross. The Red Cross kept a keen eye on everyone’s health and safety. There were a few defections at the New Cemetery in Carrick: one van had to divert for diesel; two peddlers turned for home as further duties beckoned – Derek to set up and marshall the sliotar in churn and mini golf stalls (which sadly due to rain had to be called off) and Fr Ned to partake in the shorter cycle, run and walk. The newcomers to the saddle were pushed and cajoled up and around the Hair Pin Bend by the more seasoned campaigners. Coumshingaun was the setting for a road race, with cars and spectators dotted along the roadside. Our lads felt as if they were in the Tour de France and pedalled to the gallery, especially one lad who took off as if he was a pro (more about him later!). There were three barbecues in Kilclooney Woods carpark and the bikers from Portlaw were drooling and dreaming of Liam Fogarty and his promised burgers at the Chapel! Leamybrien was a breather as they dismounted and demolished Flavahan’s gifted Flapjacks and bananas and drinkable (as opposed to drenching) water. Off again on the Main Road, and barely visible in foggy conditions, as they hit for Kilmeaden. The bunch broke up. The hill at Kilmac found out the pro pretender, and the diesel-ed up van driver Pat Walsh wiped the eye of the Red Cross as he massaged the limbs of the ever eager Noel. Sadly they were too wet to savour the completion of the course back at the Church, and most headed for the hot shower and missed the waiting home-made sandwiches, freshly baked scones and plum jam, with choice of hot chocolate, tea or coffee.