Larne cyclist to repeat epic 500km Swiss cycle challenge

David Wilson pictured during his first 500km cycle across Switzerland.  INLT 38-652-CON
David Wilson pictured during his first 500km cycle across Switzerland. INLT 38-652-CON

A kind-hearted Larne man is preparing to embark on another epic fundraising mission in a bid to support severely injured rugby players.

In summer 2015, David Wilson completed a 500km sponsored cycle across Switzerland, raising a whopping £5,000 for charity.

And plans are already afoot for a repeat performance in 2016.

David, a coach at Larne Rugby Club, told the Times: “Last time, I was joined for the second half of my journey by ex-Larne Rugby Club coach, Nigel Montgomery, who now lives in Basel, Switzerland. It was great having him riding alongside me and it really helped when the going got tough.

“This time around I hope to have about half-a-dozen handpicked, like-minded people joining me along the way.

“The whole endeavour is still in the very early planning stages, so the route has not yet been confirmed.

“But it will be a different route from last time, when I travelled from Romanshorn in Switzerland to Thollon Les Memises in France.

“The journey was a hugely rewarding experience through one of the most scenic countries in the world.

“Climbing over the mountainous terrain was very challenging, but I am looking forward to having another adventure through this amazing landscape.”

David’s fundraising mission is designed to raise vital funds for two worth sporting causes.

Half of the money raised will be donated to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) Charitable Trust.

The organisation was set up in 1978 to assist severely injured rugby players in their everyday lives, and help restore their confidence and independence.

David said: “It is a sad fact of everyday life that people suffer personal injuries through accidents in their homes, workplace, on our streets and roads and also in the pursuit of leisure activities and sports.

“In this regard rugby is no different from any other contact sport and unfortunately player injuries occur from time to time. Such injuries can be of a very serious nature, resulting in permanent disability in some cases.”

There are currently 33 seriously injured players registered with the Charitable Trust in Ireland, most of whom are wheelchair-bound and have some form of permanent paralysis.

The support provided by the trust takes many forms and includes financial assistance for medical, nursing and caring expenses, home alterations, education and training costs, provision of wheelchairs and specialised equipment together with motor vehicles and vehicle conversion costs. The trust also maintains regular contact with each injured player and their families.

Meanwhile, the other half of the funds will be used to aid Larne RFC’s youth development.

David added: “The amount raised last time wildly surpassed my expectations and the support I received was incredible. If next year’s event is anywhere near as successful I will be absolutley delighted”.