Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Teacher to follow pilgrims' progress

Rathmore teacher Una McKeogh and pupils, who have been supporting her fundraising efforts. US38-123A0

A TEACHER at Rathmore Grammar School is currently following in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims as she takes part in a major cycle trek to raise money for the new cancer unit at Belfast City Hospital.

Una McKeogh and her husband Stephen flew to Biarritz in France on Wednesday (September 20) to begin an eight day cycle along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James).

The trip will take around eight days during which Una, Stephen and their fellow cyclists will cover approximately 100 kilometres every 24 hours.

Their final destination is Santiago de Compostela, which is named after the Apostle St. James, and is now considered by Unesco to be a world heritage site.

The cycle trek has been organised under the auspices of The Friends of the City Hospital Cancer Centre.

Una and Stephen became involved because they know leading Belfast oncologist Dr. Seamus McAleer.

"I feel it's a very worthwhile charity and it's something I have always been interested in," said Una.

"In fact there will be three oncologists going with us because they want to raise money to purchase more equipment to help people fighting cancer."

Una loves cycling and routinely cycles every Saturday morning with the Phoenix Cycling Club.

However, a great deal more training has been necessary for the long journey she is currently undertaking which involves cycling through France, across the Pyrennees and into Spain.

"Over the centuries a great many people have walked the very same route while taking part in the pilgrimage," added Una. Fortunately, the cyclists should have a slightly better time than the pilgrims of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Each night they stay in either a hotel or a hostel and their luggage is taken on by van to the next night's stop.

All the cyclists have met their own expenses so every penny in sponsorship raised will go to the charity.

If you would like to contribute to Una's efforts on behalf of cancer sufferers you can do so by contacting her at Rathmore.

Pupils have already given her their support by organising a coffee morning to raise funds for the Cancer Unit.

Ulster Star