Huge crowd enjoys Walk for Jamie
THE memory of Castlegregory man Jamie Wren is very much alive and well among family, friends and neighbours who turned out in force at last Saturday's fundraising walk in his honour.
A total of 115 people left Tralee on Saturday morning on the 25km trek to Castlegregory, all in an effort to raise much needed funds for the Kerry Cancer Support Group's Kerry/Cork Link Bus.
Before losing his own battle with cancer, Jamie Wren used to organise an annual fundraising walk from his home village to Tralee – his pony and trap always being a popular feature of the entourage. After his death, the walk ceased for a number of years until a group of locals approached the Wren family four years ago with a view to reviving the fundraiser. One of those women was Mary Jo Lynch, who said everyone involved in Saturday's walk was thrilled with its success.
"Our numbers were up a lot from last year and we were absolutely blessed with the weather once again. In fact everyone was saying that Jamie is certainly looking down on us," Mary Jo said. "It was a great day and Jamie's family, two of whom travelled form England, were delighted with the day."
Since reviving the walk, the group has raised over €40,000 and with money from Saturday's event still to come in, they are confident of hitting the €50,000 mark.
As well as everyone who takes part in the event, an incredible amount of work goes on behind the scenes, with locals business people coming on board to make the event a success, Mary Jo explained.
Among them on Saturday were the Junction Bar in Camp who provided food for the walkers, Horan's Fruit and Veg who provided fruit to sustain the walkers, Michael Lynch Spar and David O'Sullivan Butchers in Castlegregory who provided burgers for the barbecue, along with Barry's Bakery who sponsored the buns. Local musicians Des Kelliher and Kieran Browne provided music after the walk, while bus hire operators Mike Deane and Peter Carmody transported walkers to and from their destinations for free. Mary Jo also paid special tribute to Garda Deirdre Qunn and the event stewards who ensured the walkers' safety and the O'Shea family in Curaheen who provided toilet facilities along the way.
"It's a massive community effort and we get such amazing support from people who give of their services and time free of charge and that means so much," Mary Jo said.