On Saturday morning the sun came out in all its glory to mark the inaugural Kells Angels Charity Cycling and Fun Day Event in support of Cois Nore. As early as 8.30am, Kells village was buzzing with excitement as locals got ready to take up their voluntary posts for the day and visitors began arriving in their droves.
The ‘Kells Angels Charity Cycle’ was a fundraiser to support the establishment of a badly needed Cancer Support Centre in Kilkenny called Cois Nore. Kilkenny is one of only six counties in Ireland with no Cancer Support Centre. The organisers of the Kells Angels event hope to raise over €13,000 for Cois Nore and are well on the road to achieving their goal based on a fantastic turn out of over 350 cyclists and the receipt of many generous donations and sponsorship pledges.
This was the first year of the event and the community in Kells really pulled out all the stops to welcome cyclists from Kilkenny and neighbouring counties and even from locations as far away as Dublin and Cork. Visitors were taken aback by the marshalling of the cycling routes and many seasoned cyclists reported that they were never fed and watered as well at any cycling event to date. Others spoke of the stunning views along the cycling routes which brought them through some of Kilkenny’s most scenic country roads nestled by rivers, woodlands and rolling hills.
Many local sporting personalities such as Kilkenny hurlers Richie Power, David Herity and Paul Murphy came along on the day to show their support. Olympic boxer, Darren O’Neill who led out the Family Fun Cycle was also a big hit and children raced from one to the other collecting autographs.
Speaking at the cycle Colette Dalton of Cois Nore said “There is a great air of excitement around the village of Kells today and it’s wonderful to see such large numbers turning out in support of Cois Nore. The cycle certainly has appealed to people of all ages and I’ve no doubt it will grow from strength to strength in the coming years.”
Following the cycles, there was platform dancing and music, a cake and plant sale and plenty of entertainment for the kids including face painting and a good old fashioned duck race on the Kings River. Later that night Kells became awash with funny looking characters sporting blonde, purple and pink mohawk and mohican hairstyles for the popular Shave or Dye Event which brought the action packed day to a close.
Willie Duggan ex-rugby Lyons and International player who also supported the event pointed out that it was all organised on voluntary basis and said great credit should go to all those who gave their time to organising this event. “It just goes to show what is possible when people come together in support of a cause. It’s great to see it,” the world’s bext ever No 8 forward said.
It seems that the community spirit and sense of volunteerism in Kilkenny is very much alive and the Kells Angels Charity Cycle and Fun Day is a testimony to that. Plans are already afoot to grow the event in 2013, in what promises to be a regular fixture in the local calendar of events. Donations can still be made at the Kells Angels Charity Cycle webpage at www.kellsangels.ie