Charity airport cycle will pay tribute to Rescue 116
Colleagues from Dublin Airport are mounting a 116km cycling event to pay tribute to the lost crew of Rescue Helicopter 116, including Fingal's own, Ciaran Smith.
Families of the lost crew members have given their full support and some will take part in the cycle which not only pays tribute to the crew but aims to raise cash for the families to put to use either for a memorial or to fund the ongoing search for Ciaran Smith and Paul Ormsby.
Former Dublin footballer, Paul Clarke who is a fire officer in the airport and his colleague, Bryan Russell are organising the event which will take the form of a cycle around the airport perimeter for seven-and-a-half laps - a distance of 116km. The date of the event was also chose quite deliberately as the 11th of June or (11/6).
Speaking to the Fingal Independent, Paul Clarke said that members of the Airport Police and Fire Service, colleagues from the rescue helicopter service and Air Traffic Control will all take part in the event. The base for all of these services are on the same side of the airfield and they all work together closely.
Paul knew Ciaran Smith and they both shared a love of long-distance cycling and sometimes cycled together. Paul said he was inspired by Ciaran's efforts in the gruelling Race Around Ireland and had 'great respect' for the Oldtown man.
The fire officer said that he and his airport colleagues have been discussing for some time, what is the appropriate response to the tragedy and hit on the cycle idea as a way to demonstrate their respect for their lost colleagues and show support for the families. Paul said: 'We approached the families with the idea and we have their full support and members of the families have asked to cycle with us.'
Initially the event was to be a symbolic tribute to the crew, but when the organisers decided to open up a fundraising effort alongside it, 'the response was huge', according to the airport fire officer.
'The fund will go to the families for whatever they see as necessary. It could be used for a memorial for the crew of to fund the ongoing search or whatever they see fit. The objective of it really is just to show our support for the families, colleagues and friends of the crew.'
To contribute to the fund, go to https://www.gofundme.com/dublin-apfs-r116-charity-cycle