Thursday 20 June 2019

Twomey Family Remorial keeps on reaching out to help more

Maria Herlihy

The second week of June is now etched on the minds of people not only in Duhallow but further afield as the annual Twomey Remorial Weekend takes place in Meelin and Rockchapel.

But for Elber Twomey, the reason it has been held since 2014 is because on June 9 is Con's birthday and as remarked by Elber, her late husband was "forever the gentleman."

This will be the sixth Twomey Family Remorial which has raised in excess of €150,000 for mental health charities and hospitals which offer a home from home experience when family members are so gravely ill.

Elber Twomey has shown a depth of forgiveness and kindness to so many despite being at the receiving end of having her entire family wiped out by a suicidal driver when the Twomey's were returning home from a holiday in the UK on July 6, 2012.

Elber lost her 18 month old son, Oisin, her five month unborn daughter, Elber Marie and many months later, her beloved Con passed away.

Elber had to fight for her own life and underwent 19 separate operations. Despite all of this pain and grief, she and her strong fundraising team managed to roll up their sleeves to help so many people in their time of need.

"The entire ethos of our Twomey Family Remorial Weekend is keying in on and placing a huge value on just how precious life is. It has always been our aim to raise funds for people who need it most and we would not be here today were it not for the generosity and spirit of so many people. I have been so overwhelmed by the support and kindness of so many people," Elber told The Corkman.

This year the charities this year are Bru Columbanus, St Joseph's Foundation Charleville, Irish Community Rapid Response, Cork Samaritans, Samaritans Festival Group and Teac Tom in Kilkenny.

Elber explained that she and the fundraising group decided to include Teac Tom as for the past three years, Nigel O'Donovan, who is a committee member and the husband of Marguerite Carroll, has organised the Twomey Family Remorial run at, which has also been supported by the VHI.

"This year I joined them and it was just lovely to see over 80 people walk and run in Twomey Family Remorial shirts, no doubt Con would be well proud. So the idea of including Teac Tom in Kilkeny who provide support for people who've been bereaved by suicide or those who're having a tough time and need support, is our way of giving back a little bit to Kilkenny," said Elber.

Each year the sole aim of the fundraising weekend is to remember "Con, Baba Oisín and Baby Elber-Marie and to promote the value of how precious life is."

There is plenty to keep everyone on their toes for the weekend of June 8-9 and that includes a brain teaser for quiz boffins which will take place in Meelin hall on Saturday, June 8 at 8.30pm. For a team of four it will cost €20 and it's for over 18s. Elber with a smile said that there will be hot nibbles served to keep the "brains powered up."

On Sunday June 10, there is the 110km and 40km charity cycle which is held in association with Kanturk Cycling Club. There will also be mass and not forgetting the annual 4km walk and run in Meelin. For the cycling, those taking part will Rockchapel village and then call to Meelin the "highest village in Ireland" and return back to Rockchapel.

There will be plenty of water and food stops along the way along. There will also be some stylish run finishers medals for the first 150 runners back to Meelin after the 4km and in addition, there are also 300 cycle finishers medals for the first 300 bikes back Elber has undertaken Trojan work both on home ground along with overseas in speaking to police and outlining the details her tragic crash and to incorporate it as part of their training so that it will lead to more awareness.

Just last week, Elber said she was in Cardiff and was invited over to over to Dyfed-Powys Police headquarters in Wales to say a few words to their driver trainers, Police pursuit trainers and some of their Roads Policing team.

"I was asked to give a  presentation regarding suicide awareness training and my thoughts regarding approaching a suicidal driver. They were most welcoming and supportive and are now going to include my presentation as part of their driver training and Pursuit Training which is far more than I expected, but Please God it might help some poor Police Officer or suicidal soul some day," said Elber.