An Appreciation: Ciaran Caldwell - ‘How brilliantly his light shone’

Those behind Buncrana Parkrun celebrated the life of Ciaran Caldwell last Saturday following his untimely passing. Liz Le Masurier (nee Kearney) penned the following tribute to a ‘true friend.’

Ciaran Caldwell - 'always laughing'
Ciaran Caldwell - 'always laughing'

“Last Saturday, a celebration of the life of an adopted Derryman was held by Buncrana parkrun, in celebration of a life well lived, and in gratitude for the unending support this big hearted man extended to us here in Buncrana.

Ciaran Caldwell passed away on the 14th May 2022. In Ciaran, we lost a true friend and founding member of both Derry and Buncrana parkruns. He will be sadly missed by many people. We were grateful to welcome many of Ciaran’s family and friends to Buncrana to reflect on his life, including his brother Liam, his son Caleb and daughter Chris, cousin Gráinne, nephew Fionn and his partner Sara Jane and many of his work colleagues and friends from Derry running clubs.

Derry City produces great people. You’ve been through a furnace up there, and diamonds are created by extreme heat. Generous, good humoured, kind hearted and loyal; visionary and passionately supportive of their cause. For Ciaran, that cause was parkrun, and he threw himself fully into supporting every participant and in embracing the spirit of volunteerism wholeheartedly. Ciaran was a great Derryman with that unique wit and charm who was at the heart of Buncrana parkrun.

Ciaran, with Annette Nelson and his partner, Sara Jane Murray.

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Every one of the great qualities of parkrun was embodied in Ciaran’s big heart. He was warm, selfless, community spirited and fun. He wanted everyone to better themselves, and what better way than through parkrun. He was visionary in supporting other people to change their lives for the better, and saw parkrun as a great way to build a better life.

When Buncrana parkrun launched, Ciaran was there from the start. He committed himself for over two years before the pandemic to building up our core team in Buncrana, and worked hard, volunteering and mentoring each role. He was Run Director many times in the first two years, gained many friends in Buncrana, and had a huge hand in helping turn our parkrun into the great community success it is today.

We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Derry parkrun for their generous support in building our success in Buncrana since 2017. A big thanks especially to George Row, to Ciaran of course, to Paul Woods and to Adam Meehan, all from Derry’s core team who answered the call to help in 2017 when we had the mad idea of setting up a parkrun in Buncrana – all wonderful friends from Derry parkrun, who helped create a great asset for the community of Buncrana in our first two years and subsequently, and we look forward to continuing to welcome friends from Derry parkrun to Buncrana.

Ciaran’s support was indispensable to us. He had a great sense of humour and was also endlessly patient and helpful with tricky technology, and constantly encouraged and supported us all at every level. Every one of us has a funny memory and a funny story about Ciaran, shouting encouragement, slagging people off, doing a brilliantly funny weekly briefing, telling jokes, and generally embodying the spirit of parkrun.

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Ciaran with his partner Sara Jane Murray.

He always reassured each of us that he had our backs. “I will always be there for you,” he used to say. And he was. He was so generous, so capable and so full of energy and fun. We will always be very grateful to him. As in Derry, his legacy lives on with Buncrana parkrun and how it has changed and continues to change people’s lives.

In a dark world, how brilliantly his light shone.

We could pay no better tribute to him than to bring his spirit to everyone in parkrun we meet as volunteers. Inspired by Ciaran, I’d like to see us giving generosity, love and strength to our parkrunners. Shouting at those who are flagging! And of course by being the best version of ourselves we can – fitter, faster, kinder.

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That is a legacy that Ciaran would be very happy to accept. Good night, Big Codsy. We will miss your jokes, your laughter, your big voice and your wise words. May you enjoy encouraging many parkrunners in Heaven - and we know you will be spurring us on at the finish line here in spirit. “Keep ‘er lit!”

Ciaran and his friend, Paul Woods, at Derry Parkrun.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.

Liz Le Masurier

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CIARAN CALDWELL: 2 OCT 1971 - 14 MAY 2022