Entertainment

TV station Charlie Bird reaches the mountaintop in an ‘inspirational’ charity climb

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Retired Irish broadcaster Charlie Bird said he was impressed by the response to his charity climb after reaching the summit cheered on by family and friends.

he former chief news correspondent for RTE, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease last year, set his sights on climbing Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.

His challenge captured the public’s imagination and thousands of people completed their own ‘Climb with Charlie’ events across Ireland and beyond on Saturday. Climbing tours have been organized as far away as the USA, Australia, South Africa and Spain.

The campaign has now raised more than €1 million for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and mental health charity Pieta.

Bird, 72, raised his climbing pole in triumph as he reached the summit.

Hundreds joined him as he climbed a mountain known as the Reek on Saturday morning.

Among them was RTE’s flagship The Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy, singer Daniel O’Donnell and former boxing champ Barry McGuigan.

Bird was accompanied by his wife Claire and daughters Orla and Neasa.

“I’m really impressed and inspired that so many thousands of people have attended Climb with Charlie events around the world,” he said.

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“I want to thank people across the country for their incredible support throughout this journey.

“All generous donations go to the two charities that are so close to my heart. It’s a great gesture of support for me and my family.

“During this campaign we have had the support of so many wonderful people and organizations and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

“I would also like to give a special thank you to the Defense Forces, An Garda Siochana, Mayo Mountain Rescue, the Order of Malta and all our local volunteers for making today’s ascent possible.”

Bird planned to light five candles in the small chapel at the top of the mountain – one for his friend and high-profile campaigner for women fighting cervical cancer, Vicky Phelan; one for anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness; one for people with mental health problems; one for everyone involved in the fight against Covid-19; and a last candle for the people of Ukraine.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins was among those who recognized Bird’s bravery and determination.

Hailing him as an inspiration, he said: “Charlie’s strength and dignity over the last few months have been a source of real inspiration to people across Ireland and beyond.”

In a tweet to Bird, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin added: “Wonderful to see so much money raised by your Croagh Patrick rise – I know the whole country is right behind you every step of the way!”

The Climb with Charlie donation page will remain open for donations for the next three months. See www.climbwithcharlie.ie

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/broadcaster-charlie-bird-reaches-mountain-top-in-inspirational-charity-climb-41513783.html TV station Charlie Bird reaches the mountaintop in an ‘inspirational’ charity climb

Fry Electronics Team

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