When Dungiven Celtic FC host their first annual road race later this month, one man will be at the forefront of their thoughts.
Three years ago, on October 4, Dungiven Celtic member, Dermott McCloskey, passed away after suffering a heart attack.
Dermott’s daughter, Ailish Hasson, says the club was a massive part of her dad’s life.
“He loved that club and he spent a lot of his time there. He was a great man,” said Ailish.
The club so dear to Dermott is making sure their good friend will never be forgotten. So, on August 14, they hope a strong crowd will be at the starting line at the fundraising 5/10k run and family walk they have organised in Dermott’s memory.
“When I heard what the club was doing I felt so proud,” said Ailish. He was so involved in the club and he would have done anything for anybody.” Dungiven Celtic FC secretary, Terence McMacken, says Dermott was “a really good guy” who is missed terribly by everyone at the club.
Dermott was a major part of the club; just a tremendous fellaTerence McMacken, Dungiven Celtic FC
“He was a major part of the club; just a tremendous fella and a good friend of my own,” said Terence.
“He was very selfless and he gave a lot of his time to the club, and all aspects of the local community. He worked very hard and wasn’t afraid to apply himself to any task,” said Terence. “He was just a really good guy, and a really good family man too.”
Terence says the popularity of running in the local area seemed like a good way to remember their friend.
“We decided on a run as it’s something that has a lot of interest at the minute. You see a lot of people out running and walking and Ballygudden Road, where the club is situated, is very scenic and the route we have chosen is lovely,” explained Terence.
“You never know how many people will turn up on the day but, hopefully, we will get a good turnout.
“It’s for a good cause and that’s the main thing.”
The club has chosen to donate proceeds to NI Heart, Chest and Stroke.
Valerie Saunders, Community Fundraising & Marketing Co-ordinator, said the charity is delighted.
“We are very grateful to the local community for raising funds to support our work preventing heart disease,” said Ms Saunders. “Within the Limavady-Dungiven area, one person dies of a heart attack every fortnight. There are 1,177 local people on the Coronary Heart Disease Register, i.e. living with a heart condition, so our work to ensure that people know the symptoms of a heart attack and what lifestyle changes they can make to avoid becoming ill in the first place is very important in this community.”
Seamus Harkin, Dungiven Celtic FC member, said the run is a fitting way to help the charity, and to make sure Dermott’s legacy and all the work he did for the club continues.
“We thought about doing something for a while, but we didn’t want to rush anything. We wanted to make sure we did it right,” said Seamus, who said Dermott and Terence were integral in the club’s youth development.
“I was in that first youth team in 1993 and, when I stood on the pitch at Ballygudden Road on Monday night, where 220 young children had registered for our summer camp, I thought about Dermott and how he helped with youth development.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today as a club if it wasn’t for him. He would have been in his element, seeing all the young ones. That’s what it was all about for him,” said Seamus.
We are determined to make this an annual event and, you can see the amount of support it has already with people out training for it.”
Terence believes Dermott would have been embarrassed about the run being organised.
“He didn’t court publicity. He liked to be in the background,” said Terence, “getting on with the job.”
Ailish, who is training for the run, knows it will be hard for her mum, Christine. They were married 33 years on the day Dermott died.
It was also be an emotional day for Ailish’s siblings - Conall, Brid and Diarmaid.
“We will never forget him, but we want his memory to live on in the community,” she said, adding: “We want to thank the club for doing this, and everyone who is supporting it.”
The run starts at 1pm. Registration opens at 11am.
Register online at athleticsni.org