Headmaster goes extra mile to help raise £30k

Colleen Shaw, director of Friends of the Cancer Centre, thanks INTO cyclist Mark McTaggart, principal at St Anthony's Primary School, Larne, for helping INTO raise �31,189 for the charity. INLT 42-550-CON
Colleen Shaw, director of Friends of the Cancer Centre, thanks INTO cyclist Mark McTaggart, principal at St Anthony's Primary School, Larne, for helping INTO raise �31,189 for the charity. INLT 42-550-CON

A LARNE headmaster has gone to extreme lengths to help raise more than £30,000 for charity.

Mark McTaggart, principal at St Anthony’s Primary School, and fellow teachers took part in a gruelling 340-mile cycle and marathon run.

And their incredible efforts paid off as they clocked up £31,189 for Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Mark and other members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) pedalled their way from Belfast to Ballydavid, Co Kerry, in a five-day challenge.

The group’s assignment was known as ‘Belfast to Ballydavid or Bust’ and was in memory of the late INTO Northern Ireland Secretary Frank Bunting, who passed away last August as a result of stomach cancer.

The cycle was aimed to honour his work and dedication to INTO over the past 20 years by raising money for the charity that helped support Frank through his battle with the illness.

The group took advantage of their heightened fitness from their training regime for the cycle to also run the Belfast City Marathon as part of their fund-raising efforts.

Money generated from the respective charity events last April and May was handed over to Friends of the Cancer Centre two weeks ago.

Talking about the cycle, Mark said: “We’d been looking at places to cycle to and knew that Frank had loved to spend many a holiday in Ballydavid.

“It was when we connected that the 2012 INTO’s Congress was going to take place in nearby Killarney that everything began to take shape for the cycle to coincide with it.

“We all had a great time on the road and increased our fitness levels while raising funds for such a worthwhile local charity into the bargain.”

Delighted to accept such a huge donation, Colleen Shaw, director of Friends of the Cancer Centre, said: “Funds raised for our charity benefit thousands of cancer patients and their families who annually avail of the services of the Cancer Centre, based at the Belfast City Hospital.

“Friends of the Cancer Centre supports projects that are outside and in addition to the provision made by the health service.

Money donated to Friends supports medical research, funds medical equipment to provide cutting-edge technology to help with diagnosis and treatment, improves patient comforts to improve the quality of life for patients and their families, and provides patients with a range of complementary therapies and relaxation classes.”