Visitors to the south and south west area of Donegal at the moment are probably wondering why all the teddy bears attached to fences, trees, lampposts etc.
Well they are part of the annual ‘Sandra’s Run’, named after local girl Sandra Boyle.
Sandra Boyle was the daughter of Rosaleen and Jim Boyle. She developed leukaemia as a young teen and battled it bravely for three years. During that three years Sandra did two mini marathons, the first she walked it and the second she was pushed in her wheelchair by her father, Jim. Sandra sadly died on the 21st of May 1991 just one day short of her 18th birthday.
Jim and Rosaleen had always been into motorbike and raising money for charity (even before Sandra became ill) and so in 2005 they launched ‘Sandra’s Run’. That first year 14 bikers took part and last year that number had increased to 270 bikers!
The teddy bears along the route symbolise the sick children in hospitals and the children who lost their battle and are now angels.
Sandra’s Run has raised money for Crumlin Hospital in the past and this year they money raised will go to Temple Street Children’s University Hospital Foundations ( templestreet.ie ).
All bikers are welcome to join in the run (details of how to enter below).
And for those of us who don’t take part in the actual run, seeing it is wonderful so if you are along the route give the bikers a cheer and enjoy the day and possibly the evening back in Killybegs where there will be music and dancing.
Her mother, Rosaleen, told us:
“Sandra was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 1988 & spent a long spell in Matter hospital in Dublin. During her illnesses her Dad and I wheeled her in marathon in Dublin for Crumlin Hospital funds twice.
She had a great outlook on life and learned to drive the car and kept all her friends on a positive attitude.
She had her bone marrow extradition in 1990 to save for further treatment but in 1991 she took a relapse and died the day before her 18th birthday on the 21st of May 1991.
I did the marathon for 17 years in her memory for Crumlin Hospital and then 11 years ago we started the Sandra’s Motorcycle Run.
We have raised €25000 and we put TVs and computers in Crumlin also tosca machine in Letterkenny & rehab bicycle & computer stuff for people suffering from stroke & disability.
We were honoured to have her as a daughter and sister to Dianne and Michael and we are delighted to have met so many good people on the path of Sandra’s Run.
We are looking forward to seeing and meeting up with the bikers and friends and helpers at the weekend.”
The Diamond, Killybegs
11.30 am Saturday 2nd July 2016
(make sure your bike is refuelled and you have registered before this time).
~ Malinbeg (Silver Strand) ~ 15 min break
~ Ardara ~ petrol stop at the TEXACO station
~ Donegal Town (via Ardaghey)
~ Rossnowlagh ~ Lunch stop at the Sandhouse Hotel
~ Bundoran (travel via the bypass and enter Bundoran from the Sligo end) ~ 30 min stop
~ Killybegs (FINISH)
Entries are €20 per biker and €5 per pillion. Entries are taken in Killybegs from 10am to 11.30am on the day of the run.
Lunch (Sandhouse Hotel, Rosnowlagh) and dinner (Tara Hotel, Killybegs) is free for the bikers and helpers. Those who are entitled to the free meals must show their armband.
Music and dancing for all in the Tara Hotel from 9.30pm.
NO SPEEDING OR CARELESS DRIVING PLEASE
PHOTOS OF SANDRA BOYLE (kindly submitted by her mother Rosaleen)
The weather in Donegal has been glorious recently. Blue skies, sunshine and gentle balmy breezes.
Yesterday, sitting on the soft sands of Fintra beach, the sun on my face and the sound of the sea lapping gently on the shoreline, I thought to myself "this really is my own little paradise". And just when I thought it couldn't get better ... it did!
Gazing out to sea I spotted the very distinctive fins of a pod of dolphins!
Of course excitement set in instantly and nudging my husband from his thoughts I yelled: "DOLPHINS!".
Up we got to get right down to the shoreline to get that bit closer and then next half hour or so (I lost track of time), we watched and photographed the dolphins. They were quite a bit out from the shore but hey, they were there and that is all that mattered!
Anyone who knows me, or is familiar with my blog posts, will know that I spend a lot of time searching for these beautiful creatures and to have them out in front of me, playing and swimming about was fabulous.
The only fly in the ointment was watching some people on a speedboat trying to get closer to them. Part of me was jealous I have to admit but the overriding thought was how stupidly they were behaving! This is calving season and when a dolphin, like any animal, has young around, they want to protect them and we must always remember these are wild animals and strong and dangerous if annoyed. And yet two of the people from the boat thought it a good idea to get in the water and try to get up close with the dolphins! Luckily for them the dolphins didn't bother them. Perhaps there were no calves yet. But that minor annoyance aside, it was glorious to stand for a time in the warmth of the sun watching the dolphins.
Below is a gallery of some of the photos I took. They are not brilliant I have to admit: the dolphins were quite a way from the shoreline and are zoomed in but I hope they give some pleasure to fellow dolphin lovers.
I hope I never get over the thrill of seeing dolphins!
And here is the beautiful Fintra beach which is just outside Killybegs. Fintra has again been awarded Blue Flag status, just one of the thirteen Donegal beaches so awarded making Donegal once again, the county with the most Blue Flag beaches in Ireland.
We Love Donegal
We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.