One adopted Derry man has just scaled the six highest peaks in the UK and Ireland, all in the name of charity.
Sainsbury’s night shift worker, David Shearan who lives off the Strand Road, last week returned from his latest charity adventure, where, accompanied by seven of his friends, they climbed the six peaks in seven days.
The self-funded mission raised money for two charities, Macmillan Cancer Support and Clowns in the Sky.
David’s trek saw him climb over 21,000ft across four countries and conquer six of the highest peaks in the UK and Ireland, Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Ben Lomond, and two Irish peaks, Slieve Donard, Co. Down and Carantouhill, Co. Kerry.
In doing so David took his charity fundraising to over £20,000, this being the third of his annual fundraisers.
Originally from Newcastle, David has been living in Derry for four years. Alongside fellow members of the Tyneside Celtic Supporters Club, he participates in annual custom-made challenges to the benefit of a variety of charities.
In 2009 David walked from Newcastle to Celtic’s home ground, Celtic Park in Glasgow, and last year he cycled from Swansea to the same destination, where he and his fellow participants received a rapturous welcome from the Celtic fans.
So how does the Newcastle man, widely regarded as some of the most passionate supporters in football, come to support the Glasgow giants? “I caught the bug a long time ago. The Magpies never got a look-in. We’ve got a huge Celtic supporters club in Newcastle, in the shadow of St James Park, I’m a Celt through and through.”
Asked how the fundraising began David told the ‘Journal’: “The chairman of my old supporters club in Newcastle wanted to retain Celtic’s historic link with giving to charity, that is Celtic started out as a charity to feed the impoverished Irish in Glasgow, so every year we dare ourselves to a new challenge.
“We’ve walked, we’ve cycled, so this year we climbed. It was certainly something I wasn’t used to but I did the preparation for it by climbing Errigal, Muckish and Binevenagh with some friends and it wasn’t too bad. The worst part of the week was the travelling between the different mountains.”
By the time David reached home, he had travelled 1,700 miles on the road “and that’s excluding the two ferries I had to get and getting from Derry to the first mountain in Snowdonia.”
Asked which was the toughest climb, Mr. Shearan said: “Carantouhill was definitely the toughest as on the other five we climbed, the sun was shining down on us. It was a bit gloomy down in Kerry and there was a section which was really tough, virtually a vertical ascent, but it was such a buzz knowing we had done it, and for just a minute I was standing on the rooftop of Ireland.”
The bulk of David’s sponsorship came in the form of organising a charity football match between Sainsbury’s colleagues at Magee. He also hosted a fundraising night in Sandino’s last month.
“Both events were a huge success. I didn’t want to go round with a pen and paper and ask people to sponsor me. I wanted to do something proactive so people could get something out of it too.”
As the dirt falls from his hiking boots David is already planning next year’s adventure. “It may involve dusting off the bike from last year.
“Our chairman is a bit of a romantic and recognises that it will be 45 years since Celtic won the European Cup in Lisbon next year, so he hinted at a cycle from Seville, where we last appeared in a European final, to the Portuguese capital. It’s a bit ambitious, but last week proved that anything’s possible.”
To help David and his team reach their fundraising target, log on to www.everyclick.com/paradisepeaks