Derek ran 10k a day in November for Pieta House

Derek ran 10k a day in November for Pieta House

By Maurice Garvey

A NEWCASTLE resident ran 10k every day throughout November to honour the memory of his close friend, and raise funds for Pieta House.

Derek Connolly took up the challenge for his friend Christopher ‘Billy’ Elliot, who passed away nine years ago.

Billy Elliot 1

Derek Connolly (yellow top), beside wife Siobhan, with family and friends of Christopher ‘Billy’ Elliot

Siobhan Sweeney, Derek’s wife, said the venture has been a “collaboration” from “across the world” between numerous old pals of Rathcoole native Christopher.

“Billy lived in Australia for a while. This one selfless gesture has brought so many people together from around the world,” said Siobhan.

“People from all over the word posted runs online, including America, Canada and Australia, showing support for Derek and in memory of a wonderful friend that will never be forgotten.”

Derek has been accompanied throughout the month by wife Siobhan and their three kids Faith, Lois and Byron, along with friends taking part in runs daily to spur him along.

Siobhan continued: “November 14 was the nine-year anniversary.

Christopher Billy Elliot 1

Christopher ‘Billy’ Elliott


On Sunday, we met Billy’s family. Some of us ran 5k to Rathcoole, and then walked 5k around Rathcoole with some of the family and friends.

“We gathered at Rathcoole Park along with Billy’s mam Lorraine and sisters Sandra and Emma, to place a signed Christmas message on the Tree of Hope in memory of Billy.”

Siobhan said the venture has so far raised €5,383 for Pieta House but they expected to hit the €6k mark by Wednesday

“We hope the funds raised will save lives this coming Christmas. This one act has shown what the power of friendship, collaboration and collegiality can achieve,” she said.

Donations can be made at

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