‘Charity begins at home’. It’s an old saying familiar to all but uncertain as to its origin. Its relevance is questionable at times when disasters of so many different kinds affect peoples of far flung regions throughout the world. That is why a charitable organisation such as the Lions Club is so important. Lions International is reputed to be the largest charitable organisation in the world and here in Athy we have a Lions Club which has been providing help and assistance for a multitude of individuals and organisations for the past 43 years.
Athy Lions Club comprises men and women who give of their time, skills and experiences to raise money for local charities. On Sunday 28th September the Lions Club will host its latest fundraising event with a cycle rally starting in Edmund Rice Square at 1.30 p.m. It’s intended to be a fun event with prizes for best fancy dress and all those participating will receive complimentary refreshments en route.
The cycle route will take in Levitstown and Kilkea, finishing in the People’s Park which is perhaps one of Athy’s finest hidden gems. Local firm Athy International Concentrates are sponsoring the event. The Coco Cola manufacturers are proven enthusiastic supporters of local community events such as this year’s cycle rally and the annual October Bank Holiday Shackleton Autumn School. Other sponsors include K. Leisure who have generously supplied a number of vouchers for the use of the facilities in the local leisure facilities at Woodstock and these will also be available to winners in the various fancy dress categories.
The interesting aspect of the Cycle Rally is that the funds collected are to be shared, one half between the local schools, with the balance going towards the cost of replacing and improving the children’s playground equipment in the People’s Park. I understand that the local schools have arranged for sponsorship cards to be handed out to pupils intending to participate in the rally so you may well be approached by your young neighbours for sponsorship. The Cycle Rally however is open to adults also and I am assured that some of the elderly and out of shape members of the Lions Club will be peddling as hard as everyone else on Sunday 28th. Sponsorship cards are available in the Lions bookshop in Duke Street.
It promises to be a fun event to be enjoyed by young and old alike. All you need is a bicycle, a helmet (which I am told for safety reasons is now an essential piece of equipment on public roads) and most importantly some sponsorship. After all the whole purpose of the Cycle Rally is to raise funds for the local schools and for the refurbishment of the children’s playground equipment in the People’s Park.
Get out your bicycle clips – and maybe even fancy dress – and come to Edmund Rice Square on Sunday 28th at 1.30 p.m. to join in the Lions Club Cycle Rally. It’s for a good cause and the exercise will do you an immeasurable amount of good. SEE YOU THERE.
In 1997 in my capacity as chairman of Athy Urban District Council I wrote to Mrs. Mae Vagts, formerly of Athy, but then living in America wishing her well on her 90th birthday. She was born in Meeting Lane, a member of the Stafford family, and she later wrote to me with her memories of her father Edward leaving home to fight in World War 1 and of the telegram which was delivered to the Stafford home announcing his death. Mae was the eldest child of the Stafford family. Her father and his brother Thomas were both killed in the war and their names are recorded on the Stafford headstone in Old St. Michael’s Cemetery. May Vagts has since died but members of the extended Stafford family have arranged for a family remembrance mass to be held in our Parish Church on Wednesday, 24th September at 9.15 a.m. for Edward Stafford who was killed at the Battle of Aisne on 24th September 1914 and for his brother Thomas who died on 6th September 1916. It will, I believe, be the first such mass to be held in Athy on the 100th anniversary of the death of local men in the Great War.