A CROSSHAVEN man has moved mountains to help his son’s school raise much-needed funds for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) class set to be introduced in September.
Richie Watkin, who lives in the area, has raised more than €11,000 by cycling the equivalent of Everest — without having to leave his estate.
The Crosshaven man cycled up and down Brightwater Hill 210 times, covering 8,849m, to raise funds for Scoil Naisiúnta Chros tSeáin.
He finished at 7.15pm on Sunday, following 15 hours in the saddle.
His son George, who is in third class at the school, accompanied him on the final few laps, where they were cheered on by friends and neighbours.
All the funds raised will go towards the development of the class and will give six children a chance to benefit from improved resources, including an ASD class, while also being able to participate in mainstream classes.
School principal Colm Lyons praised Mr Watkin for using his initiative to help the school.
“People like when funds are put into a specific project and this was something the whole community got behind,” Mr Lyons said.
“The combination of seismic effort by Richie and a really good cause made for a good marriage. This was a phenomenal athletic endeavour and we never anticipated that so much money would be raised.”
Mr Lyons also paid tribute to those working behind the scenes, including school parents James Cleary and Sham O’Riordan.
Mr Watkin extended his gratitude to everyone who helped out and said: “I was looking at charities to fundraise for and, when I got in contact with Colm, he told me about the class.
“There has been so much in the news about children who are struggling in mainstream education. Charity starts at home, so I knew this was really important.”
Mr Watkin confessed that he was surprised by the reaction.
“This has become so much bigger than I thought it would be. I had said from the start that I would be happy to raise €5,000, but we ended up raising more than €11,000.
“The first thing I did after finishing was go to Myrtleville Beach and dip my legs in the water. They were really stiff after so many hours on the bike.”
To donate to the fundraiser, visit www.idonate.ie/CrosshavenBoysSchool185