Emotional ending to son’s epic charity cycle for Alzheimer’s Society

Christopher Fagan (right) pictured with his mum Kathleen and fellow cyclist James Behan during the cycle from Derry to Newcastle.
Christopher Fagan (right) pictured with his mum Kathleen and fellow cyclist James Behan during the cycle from Derry to Newcastle.

A Derry man has thanked all those who helped him more than double his target after completing an epic charity cycle to his father’s birthplace in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Christopher Fagan completed the 100-miles journey to his father, Patsy’s, native Newcastle in County Down in seven hours last Friday, raising more than £2,300 in the process.

Christopher Fagan pictured with his father Patsy, who was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2011.

Christopher Fagan pictured with his father Patsy, who was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2011.

Pasty (84) - who was a manager of the former Superfare Supermarket, on Greenhaw Road for 26 years - was diagnosed with Dementia back in 2011.

Medical student Christopher has previously said that he and his family know at first hand the impact Dementia has on people and how vital the support from the Alzheimer’s Society is. He said Dementia had changed his father in so many ways - physically, mentally and socially, and said it was emotional cycling into Newcastle on Friday.

He said: “It was a bit emotional. As soon as we came on to the Main Street and mountains came out of nowhere, all the memories came back. I remembered it from when we were children and it looks exactly the same as it was.”

Christopher, who was accompanied throughout the journey by fellow cyclist James Behan, said he was delighted with the outcome of the charity drive.

Christopher Fagan and James Behan pictured after arriving in Newcastle with Christopher's mum Kathleen and siblings Sarah and Anthony.

Christopher Fagan and James Behan pictured after arriving in Newcastle with Christopher's mum Kathleen and siblings Sarah and Anthony.

“I have more than doubled what I set out to achieve, and a lot of people are saying to me I should be proud, which is nice, and that my father would be proud. I wish he knew about it too.

“My mum and brother drove up alongside us and my sister and her boyfriend came and we were there together in Newcastle.

“There was a sense of achievement and it was great that we were there all together at the end of it.”

Christopher said that while fundraising was one part of what he set out to achieve, raising awareness was another.

He said many people whose families are affected by dementia have contacted him since he started his fundraising drive.

“There were a lot of people messaging me, telling me their stories, people with similar experiences. It is something that is not talked about enough,” he said.

Christopher came up with the idea for the cycle after his younger brother, Conal, last year organised a sky dive for the Alzheimer’s Society.

The Derry man is also currently studying medicine at Durham University and part of his course this year was focusing on Alzheimer’s and Dementia and this spurred him on to organise the cycle and set up a Just Giving fundraising page.