Galway Gardai prepare to hit the road for Galway Blue Challenge

Members of An Garda Siochána in Galway and Salthill are getting ready to hit the road for the Galway Blue Challenge 2016.  The two day return cycle is open to the public for entry leaving from Galway to Westport on Saturday, 21st May and includes climbing Croagh Patrick.  This year’s event will raise funds for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.  Now in its sixth year, the cycle and climb has raised over €120,000 for charities to date.  Event organisers have introduced The Galway Plaza as main sponsor for 2016.

 

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind has been chosen as the beneficiary charity for the Galway Blue Challenge having applied for funding along with eight other charities as part of the annual selection process.   The charity provides training and support for dogs and owners.  These highly skilled dogs, who become eyes to the world and give independence to clients who are living with blindness and autism, cost €38,000 to train and maintain for each of their working lives.  Each dog has a working life of between four and eight years, with their working lives dependent on their health.  Retaining the status quo for the person who has the guide dog is a financial and logistical challenge as well as the requirement for more dogs for new clients of the service.

 

Speaking at the launch of Galway Blue Challenge in The Galway Plaza on Friday Detective Mick Staunton said “we aim to raise €38,000 with this year’s Galway Blue Challenge so we can provide a dog for at least one client through this year’s fundraising event.  We’re dependent on cyclists to take part and raise funds for their efforts as well as our sponsors to help us achieve this.  We invite anyone with an interest in taking part to join us.  Participants can join us for a stage along the way or take part in the climb of Croagh Patrick as a standalone challenge.  Participation on any level is welcome.”

 

Pat McDonagh, owner of The Galway Plaza and this year’s main event sponsor said “we’re proud to support such a worthwhile event as the Galway Blue Challenge.  With this year’s beneficiary charity being Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind we are delighted to know that hopefully one more client of the essential service dealing with blindness will benefit from the fundraiser this year.  We would encourage cyclists of every level to join in what is sure to be a most enjoyable weekend in May.”

 

Galway Blue Challenge includes cycling to Croagh Patrick from a choice of two starting points; Leisureland, Salthill or the shorter route at Maam Cross.  Both groups cycle Climbing Croagh Patrick s optional, with a cycle to Hotel Westport for a gala dinner and overnight stay.  The return cycle takes place on Sunday through Maam Valley back to Maam Cross and finishes at the Salthill Hotel via Oughterard and Moycullen

For further information on the Galway Blue Challenge visit www.galwaybluechallenge.org.

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