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Charlie Bird ‘excited beyond belief’ ahead of climb

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ON LOCATION Charlie Bird and his wife, Claire, and their dog, Tiger, were welcomed to Murrisk and Croagh Patrick earlier this year by Fr Charlie McDonnell, ADM of the Westport parish, and Westport-based Garda Inspector Denis Harrington.


Oisín McGovern


VETERAN RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird has said that he is ‘excited beyond belief’ about climbing Croagh Patrick this weekend.
On Saturday, people all over the world will be running, walking and climbing in their local areas as part of the ‘Climb With Charlie’.
The former journalist is climbing the holy mountain to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
Charlie will be undertaking the climb with family and close friends, while 155 similar events will be taking place across the country.
The 72-year-old said events are also being held across Europe, America, Australia and Dubai to coincide with his challenge.
“I can’t wait to do it,” he told The Mayo News yesterday afternoon (Monday).
“My wish is to climb Croagh Patrick and I am excited beyond  belief. I am really looking forward to having all my family and friends and other Mayo people who live nearby to do the climb with me.”

Rapturous reception
The ‘Climb With Charlie’ initiative has already raised over €700,000 for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House.
Charlie said that he expects to raise over €1,000,000 for these two causes, which became very close to his heart after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone last year.
The incurable disease, which afflicts approximately 360 people in Ireland at any given time, has caused Charlie to slowly lose his speech.
Several other fundraising events are taking place across Mayo to coincide with Charlie’s climb.
Due to the limited number of people that can be accommodated at Croagh Patrick, people are being asked to partake in events in their local area.
Each day since January 17, students in the local Scoil Phadraig in Westport have been walking a mile around their school as part of the event.
Charlie received a rapturous reception when he visited Scoil Phadraig as well as Murrisk and St Colmcille’s National Schools back in January.
Local man Gavin Walmsley recently raised over €5,500 when he climbed the mountain every day for the month of February.

Stay local
Garda Inspector Denis Harrington is encouraging people to participate in local events in order to give Charlie’s family and friends enough space to safely climb the mountain.
He said there are not enough parking spaces for the amount of cars that are likely to descend for Reek Sunday, which would typically come and go throughout the day rather than all at once.
The restricted numbers will also provide minimal disruption to local farmers dealing with lambing season as well as an ongoing conservation project.

MORE
Details about how to donate to ‘Climb With Charlie’ and information on local climbs can be found at www.climbwithcharlie.ie.

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