Charlie Bird says charity climbs will raise more than €2m

The retired RTÉ correspondent, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, has won global support for his hike up Croagh Patrick
Charlie Bird says charity climbs will raise more than €2m

David Young, PA

Retired broadcaster Charlie Bird has said the fundraising response to his charity mountain climb is set to pass €2 million.

The ex-RTÉ chief news correspondent, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, said he is “completely blown away” by the success of the Climb with Charlie campaign.

Bird was cheered by friends and family on Saturday as he achieved his goal of scaling the summit of Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo.

His challenge caught the imagination of the public and thousands of people completed their own Climb with Charlie events all over the country and further afield on Saturday. Climbs were organised as far away as the US, Australia, South Africa and Spain.

Charlie Bird
Charlie Bird with members of the Defence Forces on Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo (Paul Allen and Associates/PA)

The campaign is raising funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and mental health charity Pieta.

In a tweet on Sunday, Bird said the total was set to pass €2 million.

“Wow I am completely blown away by the amazing support for climb with Charlie all over the country and abroad,” he said.

“I can tell you we are going to go beyond 2 million Euro raised.

“I cried so much yesterday, but they were all tears of joy. A big loving hug to everyone. Thanks everyone.”

Bird (72) raised his climbing stick in triumph as he reached the top of Croagh Patrick.

Hundreds joined him on the Saturday morning climb up the Reek.

Among them was Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy, and singer Daniel O’Donnell.

Bird, who was accompanied by his wife Claire and daughters Orla and Neasa, lit five candles in the small chapel at the top of the mountain – one for his friend Vicky Phelan; one for everyone diagnosed with a terminal illness; one for those experiencing mental health difficulties; one for everyone involved in the fight against Covid-19; and a final candle for the people of Ukraine.

President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin both paid tribute to Bird’s fundraising efforts.

The Climb with Charlie fundraising page will remain open for donations for the next three months, at www.climbwithcharlie.ie.

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