DURING the month of March, Maguiresbridge siblings Dolores Hyde and Celia Cunningham have been cycling the length and breadth of the county in a 300-mile fundraising challenge for Cancer Research UK.
Early last year, Dolores and Celia’s well known father James Breslin passed away and the women decided that they wanted to do something positive for charity during the Covid-19 lockdown period and whenever an advert came up to join the Cancer Research UK campaign, Dolores admits that it was the added push that they needed to set out on this challenge.
“Our father passed away at the beginning of April and it is coming up to his anniversary now. He lived here with me and in the weeks after he died, I was watching some bizarre shopping channel on TV and I saw a bicycle for sale. That planted the seed of getting out and about during Covid whenever everybody was trying to keep themselves mentally sane so I bought myself a bicycle.”
“My sister and I then saw an advert for a 300-mile cycle challenge during the month of March to raise money for Cancer Research UK and we decided that we would go for it. We decided that on average we would manage to do ten miles a day over the 31 days but in fact we did much more on some of the days and we actually completed the challenge a week ahead of time.”
Over the course of their challenge, Dolores and Celia explored almost every art and part of the county of Fermanagh and Dolores admits that it was a breathtaking experience to witness the beauty and splendour that the Erne landscape has to offer.
“We travelled many roads around Fermanagh. We cycled to Florenceourt one day from Maguiresbridge, and also to Crom and around some of the lakes. We basically tried to make it as varied as we could as we had fully explored the roads around our own local area in Maguiresbridge, Brookeborough, Lisbellaw and Tamlaght.”
“Fermanagh is such a beautiful county and we did hit some pretty bad weather days at some points. We cycled through four seasons on one day a few times in the month of March but we were very fortunate on a sunny day on a cycle to Inishmore that we were able to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Lough Erne and the rolling hills. It is quite exhilarating to be out like that.”
As well as enjoying the wonderful scenery around Fermanagh, the journey on the bikes brought back some fond memories for the Maguiresbridge duo as they recalled some stories of when their father used to travel on the same roads to work almost seven decades ago now.
Celia admits that it was very touching for herself and her sister to
travel the same roads and it brought back some very poignant memories of stories which their father used to tell them over the years.
“Whenever we were cycling, we would have been thinking of him cycling
to work. Dad would have told us a lot of stories where he used to
cycle to work at 8am in the morning and we were thinking that we were doing this in his honour. It was down memory lane for us.”
At the time of going to press, Dolores and Celia have raised a whopping £2,463 for Cancer Research UK and they are very thankful to everyone who donated.
“People have seen us out on the road and given us a wave and we have got a lot of messages of support along the way.”
The official fundraising page for Dolores and Celia’s cycle remains open and if you would like to donate you can donate online by visiting Celia’s Facebook page.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition