A widow of a Coastguard crew member who died in a rescue helicopter crash is to cycle non-stop from Dublin to the Mayo coast, to near the scene of the crash.
Ciarán Smith, along with pilot Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, co-pilot Captain Mark Duffy and winch man Paul Ormsby, died when their Sikorsky S-92 116 rescue helicopter crashed near Blacksod Lighthouse off the Mayo coast in the early hours of March 14th, 2017.
As part of the Ciarán Smith East to West cycle, Martina Smith will cycle 320km non-stop from her home in Oldtown, Co Dublin to Blacksod Lighthouse, near where her husband died.
Ms Smith will take part in the Race Around Ireland ultra cycle on Friday, July 16th as part of an annual fundraising campaign for the children’s national hospice, LauraLynn.
Ultra cycling was important to Ciarán and in 2018, Martina and three of her brothers took part in a stage of a relay event from Oldtown to Blacksod as a way of keeping his legacy alive on the first anniversary of the rescue helicopter crash, raising €30,000 for the charity.
Later that year, family and friends came together as Team Invictus, to complete the entire Race Around Ireland Challenge cycle.
Martina has decided to take part in this year's challenge to raise “much needed” funds for LauraLynn, according to a spokesperson of the Ciarán Smith East to West cycle.
Mr Smith, the spokesperson added, "completed the ultra race in 2014 as the LauraLynn charity was always close to his heart".
“All donations are greatly appreciated and 100 percent of all funds go directly to LauraLynn,” they said.
Donations can be made on the Ciarán Smith East to West idonate page.
The Air Accident Investigations Unit (AAIU) carried out a report into the 2017 crash, with the helicopter wreckage recovered from the seabed 13km west of Blacksod Lighthouse several weeks after the incident.
Mr Smith's and Mr Ormsby’s remains were never recovered. Capt Fitzpatrick’s body was recovered several hours after the crash, while Capt Duffy’s body was found in the helicopter cockpit.
Several items, including a helmet and life jacket, believed to have been from the helicopter were recovered from the sea by fishermen in 2018.