Over the St Patrick’s Day weekend, father and son duo, Joe and Paul Molloy completed their challenge to travel over 400 miles from Ireland’s most southern point Mizen Head, to its most northerly point, Malin Head, by tractor, raising a staggering £25,000 in the process. The duo undertook this mammoth journey with an aim to raise funds for two charities, Kilronan Special School in Magherafelt, and Sands, a charity which is particularly close to Paul’s heart.
On 25 March 2014, Paul and his former partner Colleen, welcomed their precious bundle of joy into the world. Sadly, what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, quickly turned into the most difficult. After only 12 minutes, their beautiful baby son Jack passed away. Doctors had previously advised the pair that Jack would not survive, but nothing could have prepared them to part with their son so soon.
"At the hospital we were given a memory box from Sands. Along with photographs, we were also able to take imprints of his feet and hands."
Speaking of the time spent with his son, Paul said, “Jack only lived for 12 minutes, but I suppose we were lucky that we had that time with him, short as it was. At the hospital we were given a memory box from Sands. Along with photographs, we were also able to take imprints of his feet and hands. It was something that we never thought of but thanks to the charity, we now have these special keepsakes forever. The support that we received at that time was so important to us. Knowing that there was someone there to talk to if we needed, really helped. It is a great charity.”
Following a 10 hour journey the previous day just to get to the start line, Joe and Paul set off in their trusty Valtra tractor at 7.45am for what was planned to be a near four day trip. However, after exceeding expectations they covered 397 miles in the first two days leaving just 37 miles remaining. By the time they reached home in Derry the pair had racked up over 23 hours driving time, an astounding feat for such a distance.
Speaking of their achievement, which saw them smash their original target of £10,000, “Myself and my Father Joe would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who sponsored us both big and small, the kindness and generosity we have received towards these two charities has been overwhelming.”
Watch a wonderful film of their journey.
Carolyn Bray, Fundraising Manager at Sands said, “We are hugely grateful to Joe and Paul for undertaking such an original and fantastic challenge to not only raise an incredible amount for Sands, but also to raise awareness of Sands’ important work, to help others. We are always amazed by the wonderful different ways our supporters choose to fundraise for us. We would like to thank Joe and Paul, their family and supporters, for their commitment, as well as all our inspirational fundraisers for all that they do, all in aid of Sands.”
Can you walk, run, cycle or swim? If so, why not choose a race or event that you can take part in and help raise money for Sands at the same time! Sands relies heavily on our fantastic fundraisers to raise vital funds we need to deliver the wide range of services we offer. You can do anything from walking 5k dressed as Santa, to running a half marathon around Silverstone to an ultramarathon across the Sahara desert! Your bucket list challenge awaits! Come join #TeamSands and we will help you get there!