CLOSE SHAVE Walter Barrett has his ‘Movember’ beard removed by Castlebar barber John Kelly.
THE tragic death of Eric O’Reilly last July left the Mayo soccer community in total shock.
Eric’s name was synonymous with the Mayo League and his beloved Iorras Aontaithe, and he was a key figure in much of their success.
Eric was an avid ambassador for the ‘Movember’ charity, and for the last five years, participated in the growing of a beard or mustache during the month of November to raise much-needed funds and awareness. Eric was due to receive a special pin this year to acknowledge his tireless work for the charity.
But with Eric no longer with us, his family and friends were keen to continue his legacy.
It was after a conversation with Eric’s daughter Lisa that Manulla man and long-term friend Walter Barrett decided to honour Eric’s name by doing Movember, with the hope of raising some funds for suicide awareness.
After setting up a donation account through his Facebook page, Walter’s original hopes were to raise €1000 during the month.
Amazingly, after only 12 days of donations, this target was reached and from there, Walter says he simply couldn’t get over the generosity of people, which in many ways is a true testament to the man Eric O’Reilly was.
“I said at the start that I would have been very happy with €1000,” he told The Mayo News.
“I sent an email to the Mayo League and the Mayo Schoolboys about my intentions and the donations just kept coming in. It was very surprising because I only expected to be getting fivers and tenners, but then people started donating €100 and €200.”
After just over 30 days of fundraising, Walter raised an incredible €5,900 for suicide awareness’ and was among the top ten sole fundraisers in Ireland. Although ecstatic with his achievement, Walter stressed that this was very much a communal effort.
“I was absolutely delighted with the response and happy for all Eric’s friends and family,” he said.
“The big thing was about remembering Eric, who I had the pleasure of coaching alongside for five years with the Mayo Schoolboys and about highlighting the importance of suicide awareness, and I think we managed that.”