By Stuart Campbell
The Mourne Motorcycle Club held its tenth annual charity motocross racing event in 2016, raising £5,000 to be shared between the two charities chosen by the club.
Every year the members of the club have picked charities or charitable causes which have touched or helped the lives of club members, their families, or the local community. The Mourne club has now presented more than £65,000 to twenty different charities and charitable causes since the holding their first charity event in 2007.
Speaking about the Mourne club’s charity work Mourne club Chairman Billy McLarnin said, “After we held our first charity event in 2007, I’m sure people didn’t expect that ten years later the Mourne club would have made this an annual event to continue raising money for charity.
“On behalf of the members of the Mourne club I am delighted to say that in the last ten years we have now helped twenty different charities and charitable causes, presenting more than £65,000 between them.
“Since our first charity event in 2007 we have always tried to choose charities or causes that are close to members of the club, or our local communities. This year we were delighted to raise money for the Camphill Community Mourne Grange and the Newcastle Station of the RNLI.
“It’s great to see the charity event is still a success and I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible again this year, from all of the organisers, the riders who took part, the spectators on the night and everyone who donated.
“Everyone associated with the Mourne club should be proud of what we have achieved so far, but at the same time we all want to keep our annual event going, so we can continue to give something back to the community every year,” he said.
L to R: Billy Shilliday (former Mourne Motorcycle Club Treasurer and father of Louise Shilliday), Junior Burrows (Mourne Motorcycle Club President), Christina Ehrhardt (Mourne Grange volunteer), Louise Shilliday (Mourne Grange resident) and Billy McLarnin (Mourne Motorcycle Club Chairman).
L to R (front row): Patrick Pinkerton (Newcastle RNLI Chair), Billy McLarnin (Mourne Motorcycle Club Chairman), Will Wilson (Newcaste RNLI Station President), Ray Deary (Deputy Launching Authority) and Kingsley Singer (Deputy Launching Authority)
This year breaking from tradition, the club members went out to present the cheques to the two charities at their premises and to see for ourselves the good work that these two organisations carry out. Everyone who was there will agreed the visit to Mourne Grange was somewhat special and one we will all remember for manys a day to come. Some more photos below from that visit:
Charity event history
The idea for a charity event started when Mourne club member Andrew Shields, from Kilkeel, suggested raising funds for the ambulance services that help at the club’s races.
Plans for a fundraising event had begun, but tragic circumstances changed who the club raised money for the first year.
Following the passing of Andrew and Alison Shields youngest son, Kyle, from Sanfilippo Syndrome on October 13, 2006, (five days before his 14th birthday on October 18) the club decided to raise money for Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in Belfast, which had provided so much care for Kyle during his short life.
Away from the Mourne club, Alison Shields wrote ‘Kyle – A mother’s love in action’, from a diary she had kept during the years of Kyle’s illness, with the proceeds going to Horizon House, Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
The Mourne club’s first charity event was held on May 22, 2007, and they have been helped every year by Ballynahinch Lions and Keith Cullen of Country Fried Chicken, Ballynahinch, who has supplied trophies for the race winners.
The charities and causes that have benefitted from the Mourne club’s charity events so far have been:
* 2007 – Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Belfast.
* 2008 – Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
* 2009 – Tiny Life and Autism Northern Ireland.
* 2010 – Montalto Medical Centre and Friends of Cancer Centre.
* 2011 – The British Red Cross and St. Johns Ambulance.
* 2012 – Cash for kids and The Reece Burrows Cerebral Palsy Fund.
* 2013 – The Lucy Parke Appeal and Grove House, Ballynahinch.
* 2014 – The Ballynahinch Branch of Cancer Research and the Mitre Trust Spinal Injuries Unit, Musgrave Park Hospital.
* 2015 – Macmillan Nurses and Help for Emma.
* 2016 – Camphill Community Mourne Grange and the Newcastle Station of the RNLI.