“SUPPORTING this year’s Great Railway Cycle will be the best way to remember dad and pay tribute to him.”
That’s the appeal from Eoin O’Sullivan who, along with his mum Cathy and sister Emma, is calling on as many people as possible to sign up for the event, founded by dad James, which takes place this Saturday, September 30.
Hugely popular businessman James lost his battle with cancer last February just after his 58th birthday. He was a co-founder of the Carrigaline Lions Cycle in 1991 and thanks to his energy and drive in the 25 year period to 2016, it raised more than €675,000 for charity
The majority of the funds were donated to cancer-related charities and this year they will once again be donated to Marymount Hospice and other Lions Club projects. James was also very involved in other community and voluntary work.
Eoin will be taking part in this year’s event, and while he said it will be an emotional day for him and all the family, they will also find comfort in people remembering James.
“Yes, it did cross my mind not to do it, it will be very difficult — dad was a main organiser of the cycle, it was always his baby; but it will be a nice tribute to him as well,” said Eoin, who works in the family business, M&P O’Sullivan Ltd.
Eoin says that Marymount has a special place in his family’s hearts as it’s where James passed away and he thanked the staff on behalf of Cathy, Emma and himself.
“Dad never really wanted to go there, but it was actually the best thing he ever did. He was there a full week before he passed away, having been in CUH, and the respect and dignity the staff showed to us all made it that bit easier for us a family. It was so peaceful.
“We used to wonder why dad devoted so much time to charity, but when we experienced it for ourselves and could see the benefit of it, it all came together for us in the end.”
Eoin said he and his sister Emma had never been in need of anything growing up: “But at the time of dad’s illness we needed help and Marymount was there for us.”
He said that James had always rallied a crowd for the cycle and is calling on anyone who knew his dad or who wants to pay tribute to him to get on their bikes in his memory on Saturday.
“If people want to pay tribute to him this would be a nice way to do it. I think dad will be there in spirit with us on the day — I’ll see him everywhere and that will make it hard,” he said, recalling his dad’s sense of fun as he sometimes cycled out to Carrigaline village and hitched a lift in a support van for part of the route!
The Great Railway Cycle follows the general route of the Bandon and South Coast Railway which closed in 1961. The cycle features 60K and 100K distance options to accommodate a wide range of participants.
Eoin, who is cycling as part of a group of 10, said they are hoping for a turnout of around 150 cyclists.