Over the weekend of 11th & 12th July H&MV personnel, friends and family donned their sportswear and tapped on their H&MV Company Strava Apps to clock the kilometres in an effort to raise much needed funds for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, our chosen charity for 2020. Traditionally in July the Company would be taking to our bicycles, departing from Horse & Jockey for the Slievenamon Loop annual cycle. Covid-19 meant that we were unable to gather together safely but nothing was going to deter us or curb our enthusiasm. 1,000 km was the target distance that was set and €10,000 was our goal to raise for H&MV’s first virtual fundraiser “The Kind Leading the Blind”.

On Friday, 10th July a small group of employees along with Atlantic oarsman Shane Ryan met at Castletroy HQ to start the clock. Ben, Irish Guide Dog’s Ambassador dog joined them. H&MV’s CFO Kieran Morris started the running and Tom Ryan led out the cyclists. The conversations on social media started and the word continued to spread about the GoFundMe link for the Kind Leading the Blind. The total continued to rise in a very positive direction! We were close to €10,500 as the sun began to set on Friday evening.

Young Annie Donnelly and her dad were up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to start their weekend cycling escapades. A short time later, our CEO put us all to shame and clocked up a tasty distance in North Tipperary on his bike. Lar from our Engineering Department opted for a good hike which took him just under 2 hours. William in I.T. opted for a swim and Joan from HR opted to row. In South Africa Bradley’s dog took him for a walk and in County Limerick Martin took in the fabulous scenery for an afternoon walk. Friends and family joined in, all showing huge support and by the time Lauren was walking mid afternoon the total raised had exceeded €12,500. Eamon Sheehan walked the soles off his boots up the Galtees, adding close to 15 km to our rising total. Oscar Montgomery and his family took in a beautiful cliffside walk with another 5 km being added to an amazing total and at that point of we were nearing 1,000 km. Liam Moloney shared his walk on the Strava app with a fantastic scenery picture to make us jealous. The kilometres continued to rise with Tony in Amsterdam, Fergus in Dublin, Tom in Ballybricken, Asad in Kent, Niamh in Kilrush, Lar in Waterford, Philip in Norway, Gary in Scotland, Denis in Nenagh, Catherine in Horse & Jockey, Helen too. By Saturday evening there were tired limbs but it had been a fantastic day for the weathermen.

Mary Shelly started us out on Sunday morning with a brisk walk. Peter Dunne & Colin McCabe added to the kilometres on their bikes. H&MV’s COO, John Stokes gathered the troops at home and headed down the boreens for a family walk. Tom Flanagan took to the saddle again in North Tipperary along with members of his family throughout the day, all showing huge support. At Limerick HQ a group of cyclists took off for a Sunday spin not dissuaded by the changing weather conditions. All the while distances were climbing and posts appearing on Strava from all over the world. Lake Garda & the Mulcair River in Limerick, Ballybunion Beach & Capetown’s ocean views were captured on lenses and posted to Strava and social media. Joan met Tom, Denis & Rian in Nenagh on their pit stop. Terence as pilot on the tandem with a very fit and enthusiastic Shane didn’t let the rain dampen their spirits. Joan took to the river again along with the crews at Shannon Rowing Club and it was a lot more blustery than the previous day.

Together H&MV showed how teamwork is strong and as important as ever to us. In these tough times, we managed to raised a whopping €15,070 for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. This would not have been possible without everybody’s very generous support. Special mentions to Powerpoint Engineering, IPW, BDO Limerick and Ger Maher of Thurles Engineering.

By Sunday evening there was complete euphoria in the camp as we did the final tally and discovered that we’d exceeded 2,800 km – well over double the distance.

Well done to everybody!

Roll on the next challenge…