Road Club's fun tour cyclists raise £1089 for the Chernobyl Children appeal

14 December 2014
The mayor of Ballymena Audrey Wells M.B.E. hosted a reception for the Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles - fun tour cyclists in the town hall last Monday evening.
She presented medals and certificates of merit to the successful participants, including eight riders who had achieved full attendance of all thirteen tours.
Eleanor Duffin, from the Chernobyl children appeal NI, was also in attendance. The charity fund reached a record total again this year with £1089 being donated to the Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI.
2014 was the ninth successive year during which the club supported the CCA. During that time the cyclists have donated £6675.50 to this very worthwhile cause.
This year’s series was the most successful ever and attracted a record total participation of 943 over the 13 weeks (average 73 per week) during which 163 different cyclists completed at least one tour. The previous record was 779 in 2012.
Eight riders achieved full attendance, they were John Elliott, for a third successive season, Sean Elliott, Iris Grant, Sammy Kerr, Jackie Knowles, Pius McKernan, Martin Ruddy and, of course, Rex Bonar who was in attendance every week to open up the car park and clubrooms.
There were 32 gold medallists who completed at least 11 tours: 23 silver medallists, who had at least 8 tours and 35 bronze for 5 tours.
The mayor said she was pleased to hear that the tours had once again been very successful and that they had been completed safely and without any difficulties. She praised the efforts of all the participants and congratulated them on their fund raising efforts.
Ballymena Road Club’s touring committee member Richard Wilson thanked the mayor for her hospitality and also for the council’s continued support of the fun tours.
Eleanor Duffin accepted a cheque from the club and explained that all the money raised goes to the work of the CCA without deduction of any expenses.
She said she was very grateful for the continued fund raising by the cyclists and was delighted to accept the money for the CCA. She also said it was a fitting and lasting memorial to Martin McKernan who, along with his wife Jennie, had been a host family.
Martin McKernan was a member of Ballymena Road Club’s touring committee until his untimely death in August 2000. 
Chernobyl Children Appeal (NI) Ltd. was formed in 1994 to help alleviate the suffering of children from the contaminated regions of Belarus and Ukraine in the aftermath of the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986. The charity operates on a cross community and voluntary basis with support branches spread widely across Northern Ireland.
Each year the charity brings children away from the radioactive contamination of their homeland for a 3 week respite holiday with local families. This short stay in Northern can make a significant difference to the children's well-being. 
The CCA mission statement reads - "To slow down the rate of ill health of children still suffering the effects of the Chernobyl Disaster.”
At the height of the charities work the CCA brought 250 children from Belarus and Ukraine to Northern Ireland each summer, unfortunately this has dropped considerably in recent years and was 80 in 2013. The high cost of flights and entry visas combined with a reduced number of host families and limited fund raising opportunities had served to reduce the charities work. The average cost to bring each child to NI is £400.
Nevertheless it is testament to the C.C.A.’s formidable efforts that the charity is still effective almost 29 years after the disastrous accident in 1986. To date the CCA have brought in excess of 3,000 children to Northern Ireland on these respite holidays.