It was a madcap idea on Morning Glory that sparked a crazy challenge but on Friday PJ Gallagher wobbled his way to victory!
The sun shone as PJ rode his own Penny Farthing from the top of Howth Hill, 17km along the coast and through Dublin city to Hill 16 in Croke Park.
It was PJ and Jim McCabe’s unique way to raise awareness and funding for The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, which provides home nursing support services to hundreds of Irish children with profound needs and their families.
Morning Glory’s Jim McCabe followed PJ all along the way providing commentary and live reports as Nova presenter Marty Miller awaited their arrival broadcasting from the iconic sporting pitch.
Before the cracy cycle PJ told the Sunday World the plan was hatched when he told his Morning Glory colleagues of the modern penny farthing cycle he randomly bought more than a decade ago.
“I stupidly said in front of Jim McCabe and Clint Drieberg that I had a penny farthing and before I had any power over it, the idea had run away on me,” PJ said of navigating the precariously narrow bike across several kilometres of Dublin streets.
PJ purchased the bike after becoming intrigued by it in a shop years ago and he said, “It’s been sitting in the shed for years. I don’t even know why I got it. I remember asking if it was for sale and he said ’50 quid’ and I said. ‘I’ll buy that for 50 quid’. It’s been sitting there for 10, maybe 12 years, it hadn’t even been serviced. You’d want to see the face on the guy in [Dublin cycle service] Cyclopedia when I brought him up a penny farthing to be fixed. This is a modern twist on it. It has a kind of mountain-bike wheel. It’s like what someone in the 1500s would have imagined a bike would look like in the future.”
PJ’s ride was to help launch Jack & Jill’s Up the Hill 2021 campaign and those who take on a hill for the charity will make a very real difference to many families. They include Edel White, who credits her family – especially mum Patty – and her Jack & Jill nurse for their support in caring for son Harvey (2). Harvey was born with profound special needs including cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
“From the time we met his nurse, Sinéad, we just clicked,” said Edel. “Sinéad is just an angel. I don’t have the words to explain what Jack & Jill do for my family and for Harvey. I don’t think they get recognition for all the work that they do for special children and families.”
Click here to donate to PJ’s challenge, or to register your own Up the Hill challenge.
You can also text “WECARE” to 50300 for €4 and Jack & Jill will receive a minimum of €3.60 (provider: LikeCharity helpline 0766 805278).