Former RTÉ news reporter Charlie Bird received an emotional welcome last Friday from the 340 pupils at Scoil Phádraig, Westport, during a visit in advance of his ‘Climb With Charlie’ fundraiser on Croagh Patrick on April 2.
The principal, staff and pupils, invited the renowned broadcaster to walk the Daily Mile with them at the school, having heard about his inspirational efforts to raise money for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta, following his terminal diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.
Charlie’s story inspired teacher Nicole Gannon (who delivered the footprints to Charlie when she performed on the Late Late show ) and her sixth class pupils to write and sing a special song for Charlie to the tune of ’500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers.
Sharon McGreal, a teacher at the school, had the idea of reaching out to Charlie in advance of his Climb on Croagh Patrick. She said: "We are delighted to support Charlie - we love the way he is channeling his energy into encouraging the country to raise money for the two charities, it is a real inspiration.
"As a local school to Croagh Patrick, we decided to walk the daily mile around our school every day until Charlie comes to Croagh Patrick in April. We are walking with him in spirit and we are privileged to have him walk with us today.’’
Commenting on the visit, Charlie Bird said: "I want to thank the children and staff for their wonderful welcome today. The song written and sung by the sixth class and their teachers Nicole and Sean was amazing.
"I want to encourage everyone to log on to www.climbwithcharlie.ie and donate what they can or set up their own fundraisers to climb a mountain in their local area. Climb With Charlie is a nationwide initiative to recognize the huge physical and emotional mountains so many of us have to climb in our daily lives."
On Saturday, April 2, Charlie Bird will climb Croagh Patrick in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta. Due to Charlie’s Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis, the climb will be an immense challenge but he is determined to do it to highlight the vast mountains so many people have to climb in their everyday lives due to severe illness, physical and mental.
Due to Covid restrictions, health & safety, and ongoing environmental works on Croagh Patrick, the campaign cannot facilitate large numbers of people on Croagh Patrick on April 2. Therefore, Charlie is encouraging people to climb in their local area, and to keep on climbing the mountains of their personal battles.
People can donate to the campaign or find out more on www.climbwithcharlie.ie All funds raised will go to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta.