Martin McGuinness was a ‘key player’ in securing Cancer Centre

Bernie McGuinness, with her sons Emmet, right and Fiachra with the cheque for �30,150.00, proceeds from the recent Chieftains Walk in memory of Martin McGuinness, which was handed over to The North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday. DER1818-104KM
Bernie McGuinness, with her sons Emmet, right and Fiachra with the cheque for �30,150.00, proceeds from the recent Chieftains Walk in memory of Martin McGuinness, which was handed over to The North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital on Monday. DER1818-104KM

The Western Trust has praised the “key” contribution made by former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in securing the cross-border NW Cancer Centre.

Trust officials were speaking after Mr. McGuinness’ family donated the £30,150 proceeds from the Chieftain’s Walk back in March, following the first anniversary of Mr. McGuinness’ death.

Over 2,000 people participated in the memorial walk from Glenowen in Derry to Mr McGuinness’ favourite spot of An Grianan Fort in Inishowen.

In a statement issued by the Trust, via social media, it stated: “Undoubtedly Martin was one of the key players in bringing Northern Ireland’s second Cancer Centre to the North West.

“He had visited the centre on many occasions, viewing the various stages of development. He was also delighted to be with us when the centre first opened in November 2016.”

Mr. McGuinness died in March, 2017, from a rare condition known as Amyloidosis.

During his illness, he received treatment at the North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital.

His wife, Bernie, led the inaugural walk accompanied by the couple’s four children and wider family circle.

Sinn Féin’s president Mary Lou McDonald, her predecessor, Gerry Adams and the party’s Northern Ireland leader, Michelle O’Neill, were among those to take part in the Derry-Donegal walk.

Fiachra McGuinness, the late deputy First Minister’s eldest son, earlier this week thanked all those who took part in the walk.

He said: “The Chieftain’s Walk was a huge success and it was very special for us, as a family, to see so many people coming out to remember our father and raise funds for such a worthwhile cause.”

Mr. McGuinness added: “We are delighted to present the proceeds to the Cancer Centre.

“It’s a facility that does amazing work and this money will help make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Martin McGuinness’ son also spoke earlier this year about his father’s fondness for Inishowen. Fiachra said: “Grianan was a very special place for my father. He loved to walk up to the fort, so when we were considering an event to hold in his memory, a walk from Glenowen to Grianán was the obvious thing to do.”

He said the organisers of the Chieftain’s walk wanted to raise awareness about amyloidosis as well as raising money for the NW Cancer Centre.