Reels and wheels come together for unique fundraising venture


Reels and wheels come together for unique fundraising venture

We saw the launch of a unique fundraiser at the Blackwater Lodge, Ballyduff on Thursday night last.

Monday, 11 February 2013
12:00 AM GMT

Combining cycling and fishing might seem like an odd pairing but, if you're trying to come up with an idea for a fundraising event and love fishing, well then it may not seem so strange after all. At least that's the rationale given by Gavin O’Shea at the launch of the unique fundraiser at the Blackwater Lodge in Ballyduff on Thursday night last. It'll see Gavin, Blackwater Lodge proprietor Glenda Powell and her fellow fly-caster Conor Arnold, take to their bicycles for a trip that'll bring them all the way to Waterville in county Kerry, stopping at various points at rivers and lakes for fishing activities along the way. The event is planned for August.

Gavin is little Libby O’Shea's dad. Libby is disabled and uses a wheelchair. Enable Ireland, who have supported the O’Shea family for many years, will be one of the beneficiaries of the funds raised by the venture. Tomy Daly from nearby Conna, who has undergone brain surgery in the past year, will also benefit. He was described on Thursday night by Glenda as "one of the bravest boys I know."


They'll join Libby's dad, Glenda and Conor for parts of the journey. Tomy was presented with a brand-new bike for that express purpose at the launch last week. Libby meanwhile got a special carrier for her dad's bike. She tried it out for size, declared herself chuffed with it and announced that she'd be happy to be transported in it while she sits back enjoying the view with her sunglasses on! Both the bike and carrier were kindly sponsored by Hennessy Cycles, Fermoy.

The launch last week was attended by a sizeable representation of the fishing fraternity, a group Glenda Powell described as "super" at the best of times, and very supportive of the venture. During their journey they plan to meet with disabled groups, women’s groups, childrens groups and they will be stopping off  at various points along the way to teach and express their passion for their sport. This will be a 5 day event and events are being planned for Ballyduff Upper, Bridgetown, Ballyhass Lakes in Mallow and Duhallow where an angling centre of excellence has been developed. "We'll be ready to support you," Tom Anketell of the centre pledged.

The cycle and events will continue to the lakes of Killarney - finishing in Waterville with help along the way from Denis Cronin from TAFI, Mike O’Shea from Glencar and Neil O’Shea on Lough Currane. Lots of O’Sheas and none related!

Also present at the launch on Thursday night were friends and family of Libby and Tomy and members of Glenda's Presbyterian community. David Dinsmore - editor of Ireland’s foremost angling publication – Irish Angler magazine, and Sebastian McMichael – Irish representative of Loop Tackle (who will sponsor equipment for the event) were also there to lend their support. The Rev. William Montgomery was called upon by Glenda to bestow his blessing on the event and he happily obliged, wishing them every success and promising to be with them along the way.

Deputy Mayor of County Waterford, Councillor John Pratt from nearby Tallow, also wished them well and pledged his support.

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