Friday 21 September 2018

'We're picking up the pieces and moving on' - Husband of hero coast guard Caitríona Lucas

Talented: Caitriona Lucas brought her artistic gifts into her work as a librarian in Clare
Talented: Caitriona Lucas brought her artistic gifts into her work as a librarian in Clare
Caitríona Lucas and her husband Bernard with their dogs
Independent.ie Newsdesk

The husband of hero coastguard Caitríona Lucas, who died during a search and rescue mission off the coast of Kilkee, has spoken about an ambitious challenge he's taking on in his wife's memory.

Caitríona became the first Coast Guard volunteer to die on active service since the coastguard was established.

The 41-year-old volunteer got into difficulty during a recovery mission for the body of Clare school teacher, David McMahon on the Monday afternoon of September 12, 2016.

Caitríona died on after the Delta Rigid Inflatable boat (RIB) she was on capsized in waters off Kilkee.

Caitríona and her husband Bernard were both members of the Doolin Coast Guard unit . Bernard has continued to volunteer for the service since his wife's death.

This summer he's taking on a unique charity walk in honour of his late wife and to raise money for a local cause.

Caitríona Lucas and her husband Bernard with their dogs
Caitríona Lucas and her husband Bernard with their dogs

Appearing on RTE's Claire Byrne Live on Monday, Bernard spoke about his plans.

In June, Bernard and a team of volunteers will take on The Caitríona Lucas Challenge. Starting on June 8 and continuing for 10 days, they'll climb each of the highest peaks in the 32 counties of Ireland.

They'll finish on June 18, which is Caitríona's birthday, and all proceeds will go towards the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital.

"They offer a great service and we feel it's important to give something like this back to the community and keep it local," said Bernard.

"It's not something that has been done before. It is ambitious. The first day we have two mountains and that's the only day we have two, the other day we have three or four.

"We're confident, we have a good group of six people and we have been training hard."

The Caitríona Lucas Challenge is looking for volunteers to take part in the walk.

Any walking clubs or individuals who want to join them on any of the mountains can get in touch. They're also looking for people to provide accommodation for them overnight and physiotherapists to help them along the way.

Speaking about his wife's death, Bernard said the family are still coming to terms with their loss.

"There are still a lot of things to be resolved. We're picking up the pieces and moving on. That's all we can do at the moment," he said.

All details on Caitríona Lucas Challenge can be found here.

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