Remembering Deirdre in ‘Running for Rescue’

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Runners, walkers and all others in the Inishowen area invited to Greencastle next weekend to participate in “Running For Rescue”, a one-off charity run/walk for the dual purpose of raising funds and expressing public gratitude to all those who assisted in the search for Dr. Deirdre Donnelly O’Flaherty who went into the sea at Kinnego Beach on the 11th of January 2009 and has never been recovered.

Speaking with the Journal yesterday her brother, Aiden Donnelly, a Co. Down based solicitor said his sister was an out-of-hours GP based in Derry and had loved Inishowen. As the race/jog/walk is being held on the day of what would have been her 51st birthday he hopes there will be a good turnout to celebrate her life.

He commented: “Deirdre, who had a holiday home at Glenagivney, was a high-spirited character in many ways. She had her highs and lows like the rest of us but in truth no one of us saw this coming.

“She was mad craic and an extrovert in many ways. She loved the arts and music and was fiercely proud of the home and family she and her husband Ken -who is still based in Derry - had created, making what she chose to do all the more difficult to understand. But we’re not the first family to be searching for answers and unfortunately we won’t be the last.”

Mr Donnelly said they had waited for some time before undertaking the event: “If we’d tried to do something before now it might have been too difficult. But we had to do something. So now’s the time to have a grand day out with friends and family and indeed anyone else who wants to come along or even just donate.”

He said it was important for all Deirdre’s family and the Donnelly family to ‘give back’ to the people who had helped them so much at such a difficult time. He explained: “The search for Deirdre took place during awful weather conditions. It was really atrocious. But there was so shortage of people out looking and helping. We even had local sub-aqua divers staying in freezing water for hours on end to try and bring closure for all of us. Things like that you never forget.”

Symbolically the route of the event is from the beach at Kinnego back into Greencastle village. In order to cater for everyone who might wish to participate - fitness levels are likely to vary quite considerably, as Aiden explained - there is a choice of three route options and start times which are as follows: Route A at 2pm = 11km, Route B at 2.30pm = 6km and Route C at 2.45pm = 2km.

Aiden Donnelly again: “Niall McGee at Inishowen Athletics Club has very kindly taken on the task of organising the event on the day. But both Niall and the Gardai need a clear idea in advance as to numbers. I ask anyone who intends to participate on the day to urgently register their interest by clicking on the following link and filling in your details: http://www.darius1.com/3565/68093

All who participate have the added incenitive of a bowl of the renowned chowder from Kealy’s world famous restaurant in Greencastle.

According to Mr. Donnelly, 100% of all monies raised will be distributed equally between Greencastle Coastguard, Inishowen Sub Aqua Club, Portrush Lifeboat and a charity nominated by Moville Gardai.

He said; “No administration fees etc will be charged. Facebook users can visit http://www.facebook.com/RunForRescue for more details.

“For those wishing to collect or donate but who might not be participating you can send cash, sponsorship monies and/or cheques payable to “Margaret Donnelly & Dr Elizabeth Donnelly” c/o Branch Manager, Ulster Bank, Portstewart Branch, 52 The Promenade, BT55 7AE. Alternatively If you wish to donate directly you can do so through Paypal by copying and pasting the link in red into your address/url bar which will take you directly through to the Running For Rescue bank account: http://goo.gl/EdnqX (for those savvy enough holding ‘control’ and ‘+’ will allow you to click straight through).