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Kayakers to paddle 136 miles down Ireland for motor neurone disease charity

Peter Brewitt, Ger Harrington and James Lynch pictured ahead of their mammoth five day kayak down the length of Ireland to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association
Gareth McKeown

A CHARITY challenge will see four men kayak the length of Ireland to raise money for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

On Wednesday Co Clare trio Peter Brewitt, Ger Harrington and James Lynch and Dublin man Tim Hood took to the waters of Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh to start a 136 mile paddle across four provinces and 10 counties.

The four men will follow the Shannon-Erne waterway and travel down the River Shannon before finishing in Killaloe, Co Clare on Sunday.

The idea originated in 2014 when Ogonnelloe TG4 broadcast technician James Lynch became the first person to swim the length of Ireland’s longest lake, Lough Derg in 2014.

"Ger and Pete provided support on the day and during my training. Ger was very keen to do something to honour the memory of his mother Carmel Harrington, a teacher in St Munchin's College, Corbally, who died of motor neurone disease in 2012," Mr Lynch explained.

"I want to raise vital funds for an organisation that proved to be my family's rock in hard times... I'm inspired by their work and want to support them in a way that would make my mother proud," Mr Harrington said.

MND is a fatal and incurable disease that attacks the nerves that control movement, so muscles no longer work. MND kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis, and more than half within two years.

June is MND awareness month. There are around 5,000 people living with MND in the UK with approximately 120 people in Northern Ireland affected by the illness.

Along the route the they will camp overnight by the shore and carry all equipment on their kayaks. Each day they plan to cover between 50km and 60km of the waterway.

On Sunday as the four approach the final 5km of the challenge they will be joined by Ger's 12-year-old son Ethan, who will paddle his own kayak into Killaloe in his grandmother's memory.

"Thus far we have received great support from many kayaking and outdoor activity shops in terms of kit and gear that is necessary for the journey. We are hoping that the public will get behind the cause and support us as we travel through all four provinces on our way," Mr Lynch added.

:: To follow the group's progress you can visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/kayak4mnd. Donations can be made at give.everydayhero.com/ie/kayak4mnd

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