Over 600 pedal-pushers kit out in Santa outfits for Our Lady’s Hospital

By Maurice Garvey

HOSTING a mobile charity event which sees hundreds of Santas cycling from Phoenix Park to Clondalkin on a dark December evening presents a massive logistical challenge – but the success of the Laurels Charity Crew Santa Cycle is down to the support of all those involved.

Approximately 600 Santas cycled the 27km route on Sunday evening, lighting up Clondalkin village upon their return at 7pm.

Laurels Santa Cycle collage 08 December 2016

It is the second such Santa cycle organised by the Laurels in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, and it followed their annual April cycle for charity.

The pub has raised over €650k for the CMRF Crumlin fund, since bar staff Damien Long and Dennis McCarthy started hosting charity events in 2009.

The Laurels manager Damien Long, praised the hard work of all involved, particularly gardaí for ensuring the safety of the crew.

(Video courtesy of Ben Ryan)

“We wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” said Damien.

“This year we had 600 Santas, another 60 volunteers, many from Clondalkin. There is a staggering amount of work involved. Anything can happen. We’re working on this throughout the year, down to the finest detail.

“Gardaí were excellent. A driver tried to cross between cyclists on the Naas Road, but gardaí kept the car back – someone in a car couldn’t do that.

“This year, we also asked Cork and Letterkenny to do a cycle, and the goal next year is to have every county in Ireland with a children’s hospital, to take part.”

Laurels Santa Cycle 18 08 December 2016

Cycle Director for the event, Stephen McCormack, was effusive in praise for all the cogs in the machine.

He thanked gardaí, the OPW in Phoenix Park, Clondalkin Motor Cycle Club, Musgrave Cash and Carry, the Order of Malta, and the “unsung heroes” of the transport crew.

With the Santa Cycle now a regular event on the calendar, Damien Long wants to grow it next year to include the wider community.

“There is potential for it to grow like Darkness into Light,” said Damien.

“Next year, we’d love to make it a Clondalkin community event, and mobilise people from other businesses, get the Clondalkin Chamber involved. This could benefit everybody and shine a light on the community at the same time.”

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