Charity walk raises over £1,000 for cause close to people’s hearts

Mayor Thomas Beckett, along with Cllrs Paul Porter, Pat Catney and James Tinsley joined walkers getting ready to take off on a 13-mile walk to help raise funds for Defibs for Kids. US1522-501cd  Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Mayor Thomas Beckett, along with Cllrs Paul Porter, Pat Catney and James Tinsley joined walkers getting ready to take off on a 13-mile walk to help raise funds for Defibs for Kids. US1522-501cd Picture: Cliff Donaldson

A local father who took part in a charity walk with his work colleagues last month has helped to raise over £1,000 for Defibs4Kids.

Damian McConville, who as well as having Cardiomyopathy, undertook the challenge because his young son Eoghan also has the condition.

Damian, a member of the Defibs4kids committee, a charity set up by his wife Martina, took part in the 13 mile walk from Lisburn to Belfast.

The walk saw the team from Lloyds Banking Group, as well as friends and members of Defibs4Kids, poignantly begin at the Professor Frank Pantridge statue at Lisburn’s Island Civic Centre, and travel along the towpath to the Gasworks in Belfast.

The walking wasn’t over, however, as the group were invited to the City Hall in Belfast, where the Lord Mayor Arder Carson welcomed them.

Damian’s wife Martina said: “The walk was exhausting, but it was fantastic.

“We were joined by the Danny Mills Heart Foundation, who we’re looking at working with in the future.”

Another of the walkers, Linda Donaldson of HeartStart Lisburn & Mid Down, who offer CPR training, commented: “The walk was brilliant. It was a fantastic day, it was warm and there was no rain so we were really lucky.

“We were waved away by the Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Thomas Beckett, and another few councillors.

“We were then met by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson.

“One dog did the walk and he was welcomed into the Mayor’s Parlour as well, and was given a bowl of water and biscuits.

“Everyone was very pleased how it went,” Linda commented.“Martina and Eoghan both did the full walk. Eoghan was tired, but he was determined to do it.”

Martina added: “It has been highlighted to us a need for a defibrillator in Larne so we will be taking on the responsibiliity for that from Lloyds. We want to look at more rural and exposed areas, we want to reach further and further.

“This is the second year we’ve done this walk and it was poignant given that it was the 50th anniversary of invention of the portable defibrillator.

“In future we would like to open the walk up to other organisations and charities to join in. It was a fun day, there were disabled people, elderly people doing it.

“We’d like other people to get in contact with us and make it a really big event.

“Next year would have been Frank Pantridge’s 100th birthday so there is another milestone for us.”

Meanwhile, a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) was unveiled recently at St Colman’s, Lambeg, with Eoghan having recently finished his P7 year at the school.

The portable defibrillator means the public has access to life-saving equipment for cardiac arrest victims outside of the hospital setting.

Martina said: “We’d like to thank the parents and friends of St Colman’s, who have raised the money for this. They have been the driving force behind this.”

If anyone would like to take part in the walk next year, or to find out more information, please email Martina at martinahughesm@msn.com