The first event in the ‘Do it for Dickie’ campaign to raise money so that popular Dundalk man Dickie Newell can return home after sustaining serious injuries in a cycling accident takes place this weekend.
The 62 year-old retired painter and decorator was paralysed from the chest down after a freak accident near his home on April 14th last.
He is currently making good progress in the National Rehabilitation Hospital Dun Laoghaire and is due to come home in the coming weeks.
However, major adaptation works need to be carried out to the family home at Riverside Crescent, Newry Road, and his family are being helped by a group of friends who have come together to raise funds so that this essential work can be done.
Dickie is extremely well known in local sporting circles, from his days running with the North East Runners to his more recent involvement with the Cuchulainn Cycling Club, aa well as his association with the Dowdallshill and the Clan na Gael Clubs.
"Dickie always did a lot of fundraising and helped others and now it’s time to give something back to him,” says Maurice Harrison. ‘We have set up a steering committee, with Francis Lafferty as chairman, to raise funds for the family.”
He said that a priority is to ensure that Dickie is able to enjoy a good quality of life when he gets home and they will be guided by experts in regards to what needs to be done.
"We are trying to raise as much money as possible to help him and his family as he will need 24/7 care.”
The first event takes place on Sunday August 21st, when the Cuchulainn Cycling Club are hosting a fundraising 55km cycle from DkIT, Dundalk to Omeath and back.
Registration is from 9am, €20 for Cycling Ireland members and €25 for non-members, and also online. and refreshments will be provided at the Four Seasons Hotel in Carlingford.
The event has already got a lot of support from local cyclists, with World Champion Eve McCrystal giving it a shout out.
It’s also planned to hold a raffle with a difference, called 2000 to One, with two thousand tickets for sale.
"We will be offering the tickets for sale, but each one will be a different price, from €1 to €20 and people won’t know which they are getting until they buy it and open the envelope which will reveal the cost of the ticket and their prize,” says Maurice.
Other events planned for the coming months include a 5km race and a social night, with the committee welcoming anyone who would like to organise an event to get in touch with them via the Let’s Do It For Dickie Facebook page.
So far, over €30,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe page.