Dust off your old bike for Chernobyl

The fourth annual Chernobyl Aid Ireland Cycle & Climb Charity Challenge takes place on Sunday (September 21). This fun event, which raises money for orphanages in Belarus, includes cycling 80km from Oughterard to Co Mayo, climbing Croagh Patrick, and a 80km return cycle to Oughterard. Pictured are: Gerry Geoghegan of Chernobyl Aid Ireland and Paul Keaney, who plan to cycle on 40-year-old bikes with Galway footballer Matthew Clancy, who has chosen the more up-to-date racer.

The fourth annual Chernobyl Aid Ireland Cycle & Climb Charity Challenge takes place on Sunday (September 21). This fun event, which raises money for orphanages in Belarus, includes cycling 80km from Oughterard to Co Mayo, climbing Croagh Patrick, and a 80km return cycle to Oughterard. Pictured are: Gerry Geoghegan of Chernobyl Aid Ireland and Paul Keaney, who plan to cycle on 40-year-old bikes with Galway footballer Matthew Clancy, who has chosen the more up-to-date racer.

The fourth annual cycle and climb to Croagh Patrick for Chernobyl Aid Ireland will take place on September 21 - after poor weather caused its postponement two months ago.

The delay has given Oughterard’s Gerard Geoghegan of CAI, and fellow cyclist John Keaney, some extra training time, as they are plan to complete the event on 40-year-old Raleigh men’s bikes.

The cycle and climb has become a major fundraising initiative for the Galway outreach group of Chernobyl Aid, and will see them travel to Croagh Patrick by bicycle, climb the Reek, and cycle back to Oughterard in one day.

“This is our fourth year to run this very popular event, and, having been forced to abandon the event two months ago due to the weather, we are hoping the sun will be shining this time round.

“ Some of us will be doing it on these old bikes - the same bicycles which the local men cycled to the Reek on the annual climb on the last Sunday in July many years ago,” said Gerard Geoghegan.

In July 2006 The Galway group of CAI started work on an orphanage in Smorgon in north-western Belarus. Untouched since it was built 47 years ago, the orphanage needed complete renovation. The group’s aim is to refurbish the 46 bedrooms, replace more than 300 windows, and replace all the old light fittings with new energy efficient lights.

“To date, we have replaced about half the windows, refurbished all but eight of the bedrooms, replaced the roof on one wing, costing €50,000 that was completed last October with the help of two other groups with which we work closely,” Geoghegan added.

“This year we aim to complete the remainder of the bedrooms and we will also have a new dentistry up and running by the end of September.”

Work is still continuing in Grozova Orphanage with the refurbishment of classrooms costing €2,000 each. The group also sends aid to the abandoned babies’ home in Slutsk.

To sponsor a bedroom, classroom, or to join the cycle and climb, contact Dennis on 091-552279 or Gerry on 087 2672371 or e-mail [email protected]

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