A group of innovative farmers and contractors from the Rebel County have raised a staggering €26,000 for West Cork Rapid Response (WCRR).
Following a devastating farm accident last year, a group of agri-related people in the region came up with the novel idea of hosting a 'Battle of the Contractors' karting event.
Last month, more than 20 teams crusaded around the go-karting tracks at Watergrasshill, Co Cork, to raise vital funds to give back to WCRR. Hundreds turned out to show their support for a service considered crucial to the safety, well-being and ag education of local farming communities.
WCRR is an entirely voluntary group working in partnership with and supporting the existing HSE emergency medical services. The rapid response vehicle and volunteers are declared national ambulance service assets based in, and serving, all of West Cork.
Organiser Barry Murphy said, "Contractors were approached in the area and we got 23 teams of five members each and we went kart racing.
"It was the battle of the contractors without the tractors.
"There had been a farm accident and a lot of WCRR's resources were used, and we felt that it was our responsibility to give back and give the service the recognition they deserve for the trojan work they do," he added.
In particular they wanted to highlight the work of local volunteer paramedic Jason van der Velde, who has used his own Jeep and equipment to save numerous lives in West Cork over recent years.
"It's vital that this service remains vibrant and well funded. It can be for anything - from a car crash to falling off a ladder to a house being on fire - no matter what the accident or emergency, Dr van der Velde and his team will turn up. It's an incredible service and we need to maintain it," he said, adding that a separate coffee-morning fundraiser had also added to the kitty.
Last weekend, the fundraising committee presented WCRR with a cheque for €26,655.
"It's up to them to spend it whatever way they wish to keep their gear, machinery and Jeep up to date - it's essential to the service that they do," said Brian.
Although this was the first such fundraiser for the local emergency response unit, Mr Murphy says it may become an annual event.
"There was a lot of work put into it in a short space of time to get it up and running. We'll relax for a week or two and then the committee will come together and decide on our next step.
"It was phenomenal to reach that amount of money. Everyone got behind us and came out in support with spot prizes and a race card programme - it really worked out," he said.
* The race for the 36th presidency of Macra na Feirme intensified on the highways and byways of the country last week.
Candidates James Healy from Donoughmore Macra, Co Cork, and Odile Evans, of Johnstown/Coolgreany Macra on the Wicklow/Wexford border, covered a lot of ground over the last few days, attending Macra's CAP 2020 consultations in Galway, Sligo and Kilkenny.
A series of hustings will take place throughout February and March in locations across the country ahead of the ballot on April 4.
Meanwhile, the second outing of Dublin Macra's new walking/hiking group saw a huge turn out at Glendalough, Co Wicklow, last Sunday.
Despite the bitterly cold conditions, members from Treble R, Hill 16, Dublin North County stepped out along the 5km route, taking time to explore the shoreline of the lake and rugged mountainous terrain.
On the fitness front, the county round of Dublin's basketball competition will take place at Sportslink, Santry, tomorrow. Hill 16 ladies will battle it out to retain their title against Treble R, while the men's side take on North County. All support is welcome.