The Clare branch of the Samaritans is set to share in a €26,000 donation from Shannon Airport, thanks to a memorable fundraising programme by airport staff, supported by Bank of Ireland.
Three novel initiatives organised by airport staff over the past 12 months saw it raise its largest figure to date across its annual designated charity programme, with all proceeds going to the airport’s 2014 designated charity, the Samaritans.
The main event was the Bank of Ireland Runway held on ‘Independence Day’, July 4th last when the first ever night-run on an Irish airport runway was held.
On what was an unforgettable night at the airport, 1,000 runners went to the line for a flood-lit 5km trek along the airport runway that raised over €17,000, largely thanks to generous Bank of Ireland sponsorship. Runners came from as far a-field as Cork, Mayo and Dublin for the Runway Run, which was fully booked three days in advance.
As part of the fundraising campaign, Airport staff also embarked on a huge endurance test in the worst of conditions imaginable for a day in May as they braved driving wind and rain to cycle 175km from King John’s Castle in Limerick to the Cliffs of Moher and back to Shannon Airport.
The third leg of the programme was a musical celebration in December of last year when over 900 gathered in the main terminal building and gave generously at a rip-roaring free show by the queen of accordion music Sharon Shannon.
Speaking at the presentation of the cheque at the airport, Shannon Group Commercial Director Andrew Murphy said staff were privileged to put their weight behind fund raising for the Samaritans. “The Samaritans is a great cause and this money will be put to great use. There was a huge effort put into these events by our staff and we will look back at particular fondness on all events, not least the Runway Run as it was the first such event at an Irish airport.
“It really an amazing night for the airport, with a sea of 1,000 luminous orange t-shirts out on the runway really a sight to behold. We are indebted to Bank of Ireland, in particular, for their support for this event as without it we would not be in the position today to present such a significant cheque to the Samaritans.”
Said Rose Hally, Bank of Ireland Senior Business Manager for Clare, “The Runway Run was such a novel event and there was an amazing atmosphere on the night. We were delighted to support it, not least with the funds going to such a worthy cause in the Samaritans but also because it was such an innovative event, in keeping with the great traditions at the airport.”
Shannon Airport Operations Manager Niall Maloney, who spearheaded the fund raising programme, said that airport staff not alone got to help raise funds for a deserving cause but had a lot of fun in the process. “Staff really went to great personal lengths at a voluntary level to raise this money but had a lot of fun in doing so. We mightn’t have thought that way at times, certainly not with the wind and rain beating into our faces on the cycle. But when you get to hand over €26,000 to a charity like the Samaritans, there’s a great sense of reward. A great thing about the events, too, was that members of the public got to enjoy and support them”