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Charlie Bird ‘honoured’ to be awarded Freedom of Wicklow

Charlie will receive the honour at a ceremony on Monday in recognition of his work as a broadcaster and his fundraising and campaigning efforts after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease last October.

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Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger at his home in Ashford, Co Wicklow. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger at his home in Ashford, Co Wicklow. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Charlie Bird and his dog Tiger at his home in Ashford, Co Wicklow. Picture by Gerry Mooney

Former RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird will be awarded the Freedom of Wicklow by Wicklow County Council next week.

Charlie will receive the honour at a ceremony on Monday in recognition of his work as a broadcaster and his fundraising and campaigning efforts after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease last October.

Since being diagnosed with the condition, he has used his platform to raise awareness about living with motor neurone disease.

He also raised more than €3.25 million for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House with his Climb With Charlie fundraiser in April, which saw famous faces like Ryan Tubridy and Daniel O’Donnell join the broadcaster in taking on the Mayo mountain.

Charlie announced the exciting news with a Twitter video, using “cloned voice” technology to speak after losing his voice completely.

“Next Monday I am being awarded the Freedom of Wicklow. I am following in the footsteps of Daniel Day Lewis and the great Katie Taylor.

“Clearly, I am very honoured by receiving the freedom by my home county but in my heart I am accepting this award on behalf of every one of you out there who supported Climb With Charlie.

“All of you are the real heroes and I would love for every one of you across Ireland and abroad to be honoured as well. What you all have done is incredible, believe it or not.

“There is money trickling in for the two great charities, Pieta [House] and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.”

Charlie then gave an update on his condition, admitting that he seems to “end up crying every day” but his dog Tiger helps him when he’s feeling low.

“I want to be very honest – I am going through a very tough period at present. Whatever is happening, I seem to end up crying every day.

“But I have made this promise: as long as I can, I’m going to extend the hand of friendship to everyone battling their own mountains every day. And oh my God, there are so many people in that situation who we all need to help.

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“So I am working away with another idea in my head to continue extending the hand of friendship while I still can, and my next project will be all about awareness.

“Thank you all again for the amazing kindness and friendship that you have shown me. My pal Tiger also helps me get through the tough days.”

Captioning the video, Charlie wrote how he hopes to see Bruce Springsteen in the RDS next summer.

He said: “Well I have taken a few weeks off. This time last year I didn’t think I would reach my 73rd birthday. But I have . So my next goal is Christmas and then with fingers and toes crossed get to see Brucie next May. Hopefully he sings Land of hope and Dreams.”



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