A group of Dublin-based Mayo diaspora and friends will be taking the long road home this July and undertaking a gruelling 240km dawn-to-dusk cycle challenge from Dublin to Castlebar for charity.
The West End Tour in aid of Mayo Roscommon Hospice is to be sponsored by Uniphar plc and they and the event organisers have set an ambitious fundraising target of €80,000, in aid of Mayo-Roscommon Hospice.
The West End Tour which will see 30 amateur cyclists taking on this epic one day cross-country challenge is the brainchild of Belcarra native but Dublin-based, Ger Prendergast. Since moving to Dublin over 30 years ago, Ger has harboured an ambition to cycle from Dublin back to his homeplace in Mayo, over the course of one day.
Ger said: "We are a group of cyclist friends mostly from the Castlebar area living and working here in Dublin and while we have built our lives here, the heart never fully leaves Mayo and we have still this very strong bond with the homeplace. Combine that with our love of cycling and our quest for a good physical challenge in aid of a very worthy charity, and we came up with the idea behind the West End Tour.
"It is a serious challenge for any cyclist to take on in just one day – 240 kilometres from Chapelizod in West Dublin across seven different counties and arriving eventually into Castlebar. But the heart is strong, the cause is good, and the spirits are certainly willing, so we have no doubt our committed group of cyclists will succeed on the day.”
Uniphar CEO, Ger Rabbette, said he is delighted to be able to support the West End Tour and the Mayo Roscommon Hospice and that he will also be taking part on the day.
"Uniphar is not only thrilled to be able to announce its support for this major cycling challenge, but I will also be getting on my bike on the day and experiencing first-hand the challenge of the West End Tour.
"Uniphar has a strong company record of charitable giving, but this tour represents a new level of physical endurance for all those taking part, demanding great fitness and strength, resilience and teamwork, to ensure ultimate success. We are really very happy to be associated with this epic cycle and to be able to assist the visionary work being done by Mayo Roscommon Hospice in the process," he said.
CEO of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, Martina Jennings, said the West End Tour is a fantastic fundraising event after what has been a very challenging period for charities over the past 16 months.
"We are indeed grateful to Ger Prendergast for coming up with the idea, to Ger Rabbette and Uniphar for sponsoring the event and to all the amazing individual cyclists for committing to such a major undertaking in support of Mayo Roscommon Hospice.
"We are entirely dependent on fundraised income to fund our Palliative Care Service, so it is great to see fundraising activities like the West End Tour happening after such a challenging period for our sector. Events like this will help us to continue to fund Palliative Care Services, along with completing the build of our Roscommon Hospice."
To avoid major traffic on the day, the West End Tour will retrace the less busy routes to Mayo - cycling via Leixlip, Maynooth and Kinnegad onwards to Mullingar and Ballymahon, crossing the Shannon at Lanesborough before travelling into Roscommon – and then onwards to Williamstown, Claremorris and onto the home stretch into Castlebar.
The tour will depart Chapelizod at 7am on Saturday, July 3 and is aiming to arrive in Castlebar between 7pm and 8pm on Saturday evening. Charity Contributions for the West End Tour can be made via the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/uniphargroup