Para-cycling in Ireland has come along way since Armagh’s Paddy Gallen was blazing a trail for disabled cyclists in the country in the 1980’s with medals now being won on a regular basis by Irish riders at World and Olympic level.
Paddy is no longer able to get out on the road, however he is capable of riding on a stationary bike. Joe McCool from Square Wheelers CC has asked for help for Paddy to continue to ride his bike. Please see below.
This is a heart felt plea: PLEASE HELP A BLIND CYCLIST!
My old friend Paddy Gallen can now only go out in a wheel chair. Around his house he can walk only using an aid.
But, he was not always that way. Paddy, blind from the age of 13, is an ex-UK 4K walk champion! Back in the 80’s he and I did thousands of happy laughing miles together on a tandem. We rode open races, league races, time trials (23’s on the Moy Road!) and in 1986 Paddy represented Ireland in the first ever World Championships for disabled cyclists. That was in Vi en Neuve sur Yon, just South of Paris.
He also road hard races and time trials in England. Paddy still holds the record for the fastest lap round the Ballycrummy circuit in Armagh!
Another SQW member, James Gribben, also partnered Paddy in races – short 22’s.
Paddy’s first wife (also blind) died young. He married again about 20 years ago and his second wife is only partially sighted.
Not long after that Paddy’s health started to deteriorate. He has had a barrage of serious illnesses and spent a lot of time in hospital. Hence his current condition.
But, he’s still the same Paddy, still laughing, still so positive, still so interested in life and those around him.
Paddy needs help. He doesn’t need money or sympathy. All he needs is physical help getting unto his stationary bike. This was provided by the local health board, but it is at the back of his house in a shed. Paddy needs help in his wheel chair to get out there. He lives in Caledon.
My plan is to build up a rota of strongish people willing to give Paddy 20 mins on a regular basis. He hopes to exercise twice a week. If there are 20 people on the rota, each will be called upon once every ten weeks. If there are 40 people it will be once every twenty weeks and so on.
If we can get this rota established, it will help Paddy not only physically but socially, equally important.
If you can help at all, please let me know, ideally by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07802572441 (text and I will ring you back).