'Conor was a free spirit, packing 100 years of life into his 23': Thousands raised in memory of young Cork man who died at Garretstown 

'Conor was a free spirit, packing 100 years of life into his 23': Thousands raised in memory of young Cork man who died at Garretstown 

Imelda Marshall who completed a half-marathon in aid of West Cork Rapid Response and in memory of Conor King, pictured at the start in Ballincollig with socially distanced support from her friends and also from Conor's friends. Picture: Denis Minihane.

More than €12,000 has been raised by a Ballygarvan woman who ran the Cork City Half Marathon on the June Bank Holiday weekend in memory of Conor King, 23, who tragically died after falling into a blowhole on cliffs near Garretstown beach in West Cork in April.

Imelda Marshall decided to run the Cork City Half Marathon while out running on the morning of Conor’s funeral and she is donating the funds raised to West Cork Rapid Response, who assisted on the night of Conor’s death.

West Cork Rapid Response (WCRR) is an entirely voluntary group that works in partnership with and supporting the existing HSE Emergency Medical services Conor’s family, who are from Broadale, Douglas, had asked mourners to donate to West Cork Rapid Response and West Cork Underwater Search and Rescue instead of giving flowers at the time of the funeral.

Imelda, who is good friends with Conor’s mother Maura, wanted to do something that would honour Conor’s memory and give back to the charity organisation.

Imelda Marshall pictured socially distanced at the finish with Conor's parents Eamonn and Maura (centre) and members of West Cork Rapid Response Eamonn Barry, Betty Hennessy (back right) and Kate Crowley. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Imelda Marshall pictured socially distanced at the finish with Conor's parents Eamonn and Maura (centre) and members of West Cork Rapid Response Eamonn Barry, Betty Hennessy (back right) and Kate Crowley. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The runner said she was amazed by the outpouring of support and generosity that her fundraiser received.

“I had hoped to raise €1,000. I put the page online Thursday and by Friday morning, I had raised my goal. There was €2,500 by lunch, and 24 hours after launching the page there was over €5,000.” 

Posting on her fundraising page, Imelda said: “Conor was a free spirit who loved the ocean, travel and adventure, packing 100 years of life into his 23. Always ready to help others, so kind-hearted.

“Thanks to Gary Barrett, the volunteers with the coastguard and West Cork Rapid Response for bringing Conor’s body home.” 

Imelda began her run in Ballincollig and she ran across the city to the Marina and finished her run on Monaghan Road at a time of one hour and 50 minutes.

Imelda Marshall with her son James at the finish in Cork, after completing her half-marathon. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Imelda Marshall with her son James at the finish in Cork, after completing her half-marathon. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Conor’s cousin Luke Duffy, who is in his late 20’s and had never run more than 5km in his life, ran a half marathon on the day, alongside Imelda and Imelda’s 18-year-old son, James Mulcahy, who would have grown up with Conor, ran 11km on the day as well.

Speaking about the fantastic amount raised, Imelda said she was delighted. “ It just goes to show the generosity of people and the kindness that exists.” 

To donate to the fundraiser, log onto the iDonate page.

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