independent

Sunday 21 September 2014

Gallery: Pedal power

Simon Brouder

Published 15/01/2014 | 05:36

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John O’Sullivan and John Slattery from Tralee.
Ross Culloty, Tralee, ready to head off on the Jimmy Duffy memorial cycle from Blennerville to Castleisland on Saturday.
John Quilter, Mary Kelly, Ronan Kelly, aged 8, and Brendan Kelly from Fenit.

OVER 160 people got on their bikes in Blennerville at the weekend to honour the memory of much loved local character Jimmy Duffy who died tragically in a fire at his home in the village four years ago.

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OVER 160 people got on their bikes in Blennerville at the weekend to honour the memory of much loved local character Jimmy Duffy who died tragically in a fire at his home in the village four years ago.

Jimmy, a familiar face to everyone in Blennerville and Tralee, died aged 67 on a Saturday afternoon in January 2010 when a fire engulfed his home on Blennerville's Church Street.

His passing shocked the entire community and not long after his death locals decided to hold an event in his memory. Given that he was an enthusiastic cyclist right up until his death, a memorial cycle seemed the obvious choice.

The first memorial cycle was organised by Maurice Hanafin, George Poff, Michael Ryle and Paul Byrne and attracted about 30 cyclists. Since then the event has become an annual event in Blennerville with more cyclists joining every year.

This year's cycle was the biggest yet with 163 people taking part and cycling from St Pat's GAA club to Castleisland and back again on Saturday morning.

With more and more people taking part it has become necessary for the organisers to charge a minimal entry fee to cover the insurance and other costs but the good news is the surplus will go to the local Red Cross who provided cover on the day.

Thankfully while the Red Cross team was on hand in case of any emergencies there wasn't a single accident and every participant made it to Castleisland and back without so much as a scratch. When the cyclists returned to Blennerville refreshments were served up in Quane's Bar which later hosted a well attended trad session that continued into the evening.

There was also a solemn celebration of Jimmy Duffy's life at Curraheen Church where the Saturday evening Mass was celebrated in his honour.

Event co-organiser Maurice Hanafin said the day had been a great success and a fitting tribute to a deeply missed part of the community.

"It was great. We had excellent weather, the numbers were up again, everyone had a great time and we didn't have a single accident," he said. "Jimmy was lovely man and he's deeply missed. He cycled all his life. He did loads of Ring of Kerry cycles over the years, on a very basic bike, and he was a great man to raise money for Enable Ireland. When he died a few of us got together and we thought it would be only fitting to honour his life with a cycle."

The organisers offered a special thank you to St Pat's GAA club, Quane's Bar, the Gardaí and the Red Cross for all their help and support on the day.

Kerryman

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