All it took was an hour-long walk around Dungiven and, with that, more than £5,000 was raised to buy a severely disabled local man a much needed, new wheelchair.
Tiney Keeley says she has tried to get her 32-year-old son - who has Down’s syndrome and epilepsy - a new electric wheelchair, but without success. Now, she is able to buy one thanks to the fundraiser organised by businessman Francie McNicholl and Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey.
Overwhelmed by the hundreds of people who supported the walk on Wednesday, an emotional Tiney said: “I can’t believe it. I could cry. I won’t ever be able to thank Sean and Francie enough, and everyone who came out to support us.”
Dungiven man, former Derry GAA star Joe Brolly joined the walkers.
“One of the things I have learned is that there is a powerful bond between a mother and a child,” he said. “You can see Christopher is a lot of work, and this is a good boost for Tiney. It’s good for the community. It’s good for the soul, a night like this.”
Francie McNicholl said he was happy to do what he could to help the family.
“I came up with the idea we would do a function and that’s how it happened,” said Francie, as participants returned to Eurospar from the walk.
“It’s great to be able to help Tiney and Christopher.”
Colr. McGlinchey said: “When you see what’s going on at Stormont and you have to do something like this to help someone in so much need, is disgraceful,” he said. “But, it shows the community spirit in Dungiven. The community always pulls together, no mattter what.”
Among the walkers was Carmel Harkin, a good friend of Tiney.
“People are unbelievable. We even had a £500 anonymous donation,” she said. “To think Christopher couldn’t get a wheelechair when there is so much money being wasted, it’s ridiculous.”