WHEN Athea's Tom Moran set out on his Tomathon walk from Limerick to Dublin back in September, his aim was to raise €100,000 for suicide prevention centres here in Ireland and in the UK..
Less than two months on, after overwhelming support both here and across the water, the popular hotel owner almost doubled his target, generating an incredible €191,295.
On Friday night, the fruits of Tom's labour the money was divided at a special presentation ceremony at Bill Chawke's Bar in Adare, with €177,295 that was raised in Ireland going to Pieta House and the balance going to Papyrus - a UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide among young people.
The popular businessman - who own the Moran & Bewley's Hotel Groups - began his challenge in his home place of Athea on September 11 and crossed the finish line, 250km later, at the Red Cow Inn, Dublin on Friday, September 21the 24th anniversary of when he first arrived to the hotel.
Offering their support along the way were Kilkenny hurling manager, Brian Cody, Irish Olympic legend Ronnie Delany, rugby stars Alan Quinlan and Keith Wood and comedians Brendan Grace and Pat Shortt. The finale to Tom's fundraising took place at The Pavillion Red Cow Moran Hotel on Wednesday, October 31 with artists from across the Irish music industry gathering for a special cabaret show.
Having almost doubled his target of €100,000, Tom is justifiably thrilled with the achievement.
"The Tomathon has been an amazing journey in every sense. I am genuinely overwhelmed by the support, goodwill and generosity of everyone, from the Gardai, the Red Cross and our physiotherapists who ensured our safety and wellbeing along the way, to the famous faces that assisted in raising awareness," he said.
"I need to give special mention to my fellow walkers, in particular my wife Sheila, and to Mike Hayes, Sean Leddy, John Dillon, Joe Ahern, Martin Doyle and Cathy Finucane, all of whom joined me for the full 250km walk. Thanks also to Kieran Griffin, Garda Gerry Griffin and Ned O'Mahony and all the other walkers and fundraisers who gave their valuable time for this cause. A huge thank you also the many people and businesses who helped us along the way, from offering us a cup of tea or refreshments, to offering us a bed for the night, everyone involved has been so generous, it's been wonderful."