A rugby jersey signed by the Irish Grand Slam team has been presented to the committee of the ‘Fr Gerry Hipwell Memorial Cycle’ and is to be auctioned on eBay in the next week or two.
The charity cycle, planned for May 2, is held by the past pupils of the Carmelite college and the community school in Moate in memory of Fr Hipwell who drowned tragically on an outdoor adventure with students five years ago.
“He did extraordinary extra-curricular work,” said Moate councillor and former colleague, Joe Whelan.
“With his Zeus club he used to set the students targets like long walks with overnight camping. He brought them parachute jumping. He was a great teacher.”
The jersey was presented by Munster and Ireland wing forward, Denis Leamy to Tommy Walsh, chairman of the fund-raising committee and parents' association at the community school.
“This is a significant boost to our efforts to generate funds for extra curricular activities,” said Mr Walsh.
“In this historical year for Irish rugby, a sport loved by Fr Gerry, we hope there will be substantial interest in this jersey.”
Also joining in the project is RTE's gaelic games correspondent, Jonathan Mullen. Jonathan, an award-winning former reporter with The Athlone Voice, will host ‘Know Your Sport’ in the Auld Shebeen on Thursday April 30 at 9pm and the entry fee is ?20 per team of four.
Speaking about the interest in the memorial event, Mr Kevin Duffy, Principal, Moate Community School, said: “The response to date to this project has been very encouraging and an indication of the high regard people had for Fr Hipwell. Day by day a new dimension of the event takes shape, and we are developing an exciting family day.”
The cycle is designed to be as family-friendly as possible and will have three routes around the roads of Moate ranging from 4.5kms to 14kms.