Saturday 20 July 2019

Fighting 'battle of the bulge' in Cullen

John Tarrant

While over-indulging during the festive season may have piled on the pounds, members of the Cullen and District Friends Special Needs Association have pledged to lose weight over the next 10 weeks following the launch of their annual weigh-in last Monday night.

With normal life restored on the day after Nollag na mBan officially brought the curtain down on the holidays, willing volunteers got the kick start required to  get rid of the excess and the wake up call of supporting the traditional Cullen staging met with an overwhelming response from participants drawn from across Duhallow and East Kerry.

The association was founded in 1980 in a response to people with specific needs in the greater north Cork region. 

Since then the Cullen groups diverse fund-raising has helped numerous and worthy causes in Rathmore, Charleville, Kanturk, Mallow, Millstreet and Beaufort.

Secretary Moira O'Keeffe welcomed loyal supporters and many new friends to the popular event.

"We greatly appreciate the faithful support and generosity of so many over the years thus contributing hugely to the welfare and well being of those with special needs", she said.

The 2019 staging opened with the official weigh-in, with participants returning on Monday nights to monitor progress and enjoy jiving classes.

"Voluntary fundraising is hugely important. Over the past 40 years the Association has helped to provide a service and a link that has assisted  and will continue to enable centres achieve high standards and maintain services for those with special needs, who are most vulnerable in our society," said Moira.

"In that period of time, thousands of Euros have been raised through the generous sponsorship of our loyal and dedicated participants in our annual sponsored weigh-in and in later years our vintage afternoon has also been a huge success both financially and socially", she added.

Millstreet GP Dr. Patrick Casey returned with his scales and each participant's weight was monitored, to be repeated on a weekly basis as participants seek sponsorship in their efforts to shed unwanted pounds generated over the new year festivities before Monday, March 11.

"This is our 34th year, the purpose is three fold, lose weight, raise money and have fun", said Dr. Casey.

Knocknagree participant Denis Hickey had enjoyed the extended festivities but vowed to rid the excesses.

"I come back each year to support the venture, a great cause and the target is to lose a stone through walking and maybe a little starvation. The weighing scales reads 222 pounds, that means, there is work to be undertaken. I'm making an all out effort to get into shape, a few years ago, I lost 25 pounds", said Denis.

Patrons can come along each Monday night, put on their dancing shoes and try a new way of getting active to boost weight loss, improve fitness and energy levels, as well as toning up for jiving. A nominal charge of €5 will apply each night.