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Niall Hopper named Innisfree Wheelers’ Club Person of the Year 2022 at Sligo club’s AGM

The late Pam Benson remembered during well-attended meeting

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Niall Hopper of Innisfree Wheelers is presented with his Club Person of the Year award by club Chairman, Alan Kelly. Also included in the picture are Club Officers, Violet McDermott and Anne Osborne.

Niall Hopper of Innisfree Wheelers is presented with his Club Person of the Year award by club Chairman, Alan Kelly. Also included in the picture are Club Officers, Violet McDermott and Anne Osborne.

The late Pat Benson, RIP.

The late Pat Benson, RIP.

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Niall Hopper of Innisfree Wheelers is presented with his Club Person of the Year award by club Chairman, Alan Kelly. Also included in the picture are Club Officers, Violet McDermott and Anne Osborne.

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At the recent well attended Innisfree Wheelers AGM, Niall Hopper was presented with the annual award of Club Person of the Year for 2022.

A relative newcomer to the sport when Niall joined the Wheelers a number of years ago, he made an immediate impact with his affable manner and willingness to roll up his sleeves and do numerous different jobs. Innisfree Wheelers are one of the most active sports clubs in Connacht, hosting and participating in numerous cycling events home and abroad.

These events include the local sportives, Spring Classic, Ladies Lough Gill Tour, Three Counties, and Santa Cycle. Niall is on the organising committee of all these and also in 2020 took on the onerous role of the club gear organiser. This alone is an enormous task, based on the fact that the club now boasts a membership of over one hundred and thirty people.

Niall is also a regular spin group leader on the club’s Sunday spins and is an active member of the permanent committee which oversees all aspects of club activities. On occasions, Niall has been known to step into the kitchen and dish out the hot meals following some of our bigger events. Versatility would be too small a description for this guy. We hope that Niall will continue the outstanding work rate which he has shown to date. We hope to celebrate his achievement when we all get together at this year’s club Christmas Party. Congratulations Niall Hopper!

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Huge attendance at Innisfree Wheelers AGM as Pam Benson is poignantly remembered 

With Covid restrictions finally ended, Innisfree Wheelers held their Annual General Meeting recently which was attended by over seventy of their members.

The occasion was somewhat saddened by the fact that only one month ago we lost one of our most treasured members who died following a road traffic accident which happened on the 2nd of October at Collooney.

Pam Benson was seventy-eight years old but had the physique of a forty-year-old and a heart of gold. She was an inspiration to all club members and it’s not an overstatement to say that she was loved by everyone who knew her.

A minute’s silence was observed at the start of the AGM, for Pam, and the club plan in the coming year to put in place a permanent and appropriate memorial to Pam Benson. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.

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The late Pat Benson, RIP.

The late Pat Benson, RIP.

The late Pat Benson, RIP.

The meeting opened with the Chairman’s address. Alan Kelly outlined the highlights of the club’s many activities throughout a very busy year. The highlight of the year was the club’s massive undertaking of the epic Mizen to Malin 600 kilometre trek. This took place in June and the thirty riders enjoyed a relatively dry five days in the saddle for their cycle. Alan paid tribute to all participants and also the sub-committee who worked so hard in putting this event together.

Next up was Secretary Anne Osborne’s very detailed report of many of the numerous club’s activities throughout the year. Many members took part on events locally, nationally and internationally. From our own four sportives to the Wicklow 200, and many other leisure events at home and abroad, our members were active for most of the cycling season.

The club even contributed to the summer league by organising two legs and having a few participants who won category awards in the league. Coaching events and first aid classes were organised and very well attended by members also. Of course, the club spins then have got bigger and more numerous as a result of the increase in club membership. We now have four groups out each Sunday and at least two groups each Tuesday and Thursday also.

In her detailed financial report club Treasurer Violet McDermott showed the club to be in a very healthy financial position. The club as usual contributed thousands of euros to local charities from our events, with a very large chunk being raised by the participants in the Mizan to Malin cycle.

The meeting then continued with the election of officers and committee for the coming year. The following were elected.

Chairman – Alan Kelly. Secretary – Anne Osborne. Treasurer – Darren Clancy. Vice-Chairman – Rod Scott. Assistant Secretary – Violet McDermott. Assistant Treasurer – Carol Foley. PRO – Paul Flynn.

Committee – Niall Hopper, Anne-Marie O’Byrne, Pam Scanlon, John Molloy, Alo Farragher, Martin Keville.

An open forum for members then took place and there were lively contributions with some great suggestions for the future coming from the floor. This concluded the business of the 2022 AGM.

Innisfree Wheelers Santa Cycle on December 4

Starting at Sligo ATU this year at 11am (with sign on from 10am). Online Entry only this year is just €20 (Cycling Ireland members) and proceeds will go again this year to Sligo Lions Club Christmas Food Appeal. Entry links can be found on the club’s Facebook page and the club’s website as well as Event master website. Non-Cycling Ireland members can also enter for an extra insurance fee with total entry costing €30.

The cycle will come over Ash Lane and then head out towards Finisklin via Hughes Bridge. With the beautiful Knocknarea in sight as the Santas emerge on to the R292 road, they then head for the scenic seaside village of Strandhill.

Pausing here for a quick coffee and to take in the fresh sea air along the promenade. They might even break into song at this stage also. Last year the weather was great, and the Wheelers provided choral entertainment for over half an hour at the Cannon in Strandhill.

From Strandhill the Santas head via Culleenamore to Ransboro circumventing Queen Maeve on their left-hand side.

The riders then head straight into Sligo town via Maugheraboy and Churchhill Road, before circling Sligo Town centre and pausing a few times to break into some Christmas Carols.

They then return to Sligo ATU via Ash Lane. Some solid and liquid treats await the Santas at Connolly’s pub on Markievicz Road before they de-frock and return to the North Pole.

The total cycle route is approximately 30km.

There are prizes this year for the best dressed Santa male and female, and also a prize for the best decorated bike.

 


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