If Timahoe floods on New Year’s Day, Nicole Turner won’t worry—she’ll be able to swim her way out of danger.
Hopefully, though, that won’t happen and all will turn out well for the village’s annual charity walk.
Ace swimmer Nicole, from Portarlington, will launch the event, much to the delight of Johnny Dalton and his fellow organizers.
At 14, she was the youngest member of the Irish team at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro during the summer, where she qualified for five finals.
She won the heart of the nation with her performances there and was unlucky not to medal. She first came to international prominence by capturing one bronze medal and two silver medals at European level.
From Rio to Timahoe—that’s certainly a change of scene for Nicole. She’ll start the walks at 1pm on the village green.
“I feel honoured to have been asked to start off the sponsored walk, especially since it is in aid of Irish Wheelchair Association. IWA is my National Governing Body so I am more than happy to be involved. They has played a big part in my swimming journey,” said Nicole, who added that she is looking forward to meeting all the walkers on the day.
There are two routes to choose from, a 6km route, and for seasoned walkers, a tougher Grade A 10km walk, both up through the Fossey hills with scenic vistas across the county.
Money raised through sponsorship will go to the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Fatima Invalid Fund. Cards are available from Johnny Dalton and Maura O’Brien and donations can be made on the day.
Says Johnny: “It’s our 15th annual walk and we have raised a lot of money over the years. We’re delighted to welcome Maura to join us. She does an awful lot of good work in generating funds to send people to Fatima.
“Every €700 raised means that another invalid can go on pilgrimage.”
Cash contributed to the Irish Wheelchair Association will benefit that organization’s Portlaoise Centre, he explains.
Following the walks, the participants will partake of refreshments in the Community Hall, where Pat Dalton, Johnny’s son, will be in charge of catering.
“What better way to start the New Year than with a picturesque walk on Fossey Mountain?” muses Johnny.