For sisters Andrea Harrower and Cathy Booth a 450 mile cycle ride over a single weekend looked to onlookers quite astonishingly easy! Accompanied by a significant phalanx of supporters on two wheels the Wallace heroines had been ahead of schedule at every point on their epic journey and even had time for an extended stop at the Lock Keeper’s Inn before storming through the school gates at just after 11.00am.
Support had been consistent throughout the race against the clock and the Wallace family did not fail the doughty duo. Mrs Sandra McCabe (Chair) her son Scott, nephew Craig and Wallace’s Principal, Mrs Deborah O’Hare, all cycled from Newcastle to Rostrevor with the endurance cyclists. Rumour has it the route is hillier than Mrs McCabe had thought! Senior Teacher, Mr Jonny Reid, a cycling enthusiast joined the Pedal the Periphery challenge near Strabane and cycled to Londonderry.
The Wallace car park was a sea of purple with particular highlights being the inflatable suit (well done, Fiona) the purple hair, purple nails, the purple VW Beetle and the specially commissioned balloon pillars with personalised stars! Young, old and all ages and stages in between watched and listened as the girls lapped the car park to the strains of Green, Green Grass by George Ezra which had been the final serenade for Andrea’s late husband, Paddy at the celebration of his life held in Wallace last year.
Having been liberally doused with champagne and warmly embraced by their proud family circles, Andrea and Cathy spoke emotionally of their motivations for this remarkable feat. The idea had been Paddy’s and the motivations were to spread awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, raise money for research and celebrate the lives of Paddy and Cathy’s school friend Natalie whose sixth anniversary poignantly fell at the weekend. Surrounded by their own Wallace tribes, the sisters were able to celebrate a remarkable feat which to date has raised about £74,500 of the £80,000 target.
NIPANC Chairman, Mr Ivan McMinn, paid eloquent tribute to Andrea and Cathy and Mr Mark Taylor NI Director of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Trustee of NIPANC was also present. Mr Taylor began the event with the sisters in Belfast and joined them for a second time along the route. Local politicians were also among those gathered to applaud the emotional homecoming.
It’s not to late to donate or to be inspired to do something bold. Remember #iblamepaddy!
Last modified: June 13, 2023