Should the sun appear, a chain will gleam on the village green in Timahoe on New Year’s Day.
Wearing that chain will be Padraig Fleming, signifying his position as Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council.
And to him will go the honour of launching Timahoe’s 16th annual charity walk to raise funds for the Laois Branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Fatima Invalid Fund.
Padraig, from the nearby Swan, is no stranger to the event. He has hiked through the Fossey Hills in previous years, but this, so to speak, will be his first time leading the way.
The walk begins at 1pm and has two routes, six kms and, for the more fit, 10 kms. Sponsorship cards are available from the organizers, or donations can be made on the day. On their return to Timahoe, the participants will be served well-earned, soup, tea and sandwiches in the Community Hall.
Organiser in chief is Johnny Dalton. He has been involved since the walk's inception 15 year's ago.
“All money raised will be spent in Laois—on Mt Alvernia in Portlaoise for the Irish Wheelchair Association and on sending invalids on the annual Pilgrimage to Fatima,” stresses.
Maura O’Brien, of the Fatima Fund, notes that the Timahoe walk is only one of her organization’s many fundraisers.
She praises her colleagues for the great work they’ve done during the past 18 years, especially James Smyth.
Maura reveals: “Up to €12,000 are raised each year which brings a number of deserving cases to the Holy Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and for this we are most grateful to all our generous benefactors.”
Those seeking sponsorship cards for the Timahoe walk can contact Maura at 086 3344722.They are also available from John Egan, Eugene Lacey, Jimmy Sheils, Nuala Smith and Michael and Margaret Holohan.
Enthuses Johnny Dalton: “The walk is a great and healthy way of starting the New Year. We have a big welcome for everyone.”
The walk raises up to €5,000 annually. Until 2015, all funds went to the Irish Wheelchair Association.
They've been lucky with the weather over the years. Snow forced the postponment in 2010 but Johnny reorganised and held a lovely walk on St Valentine's Day.