On Saturday week, February 28 and Sunday, March 1 a group of leisure
cyclists will gather at The Clonmel Park Hotel to embark on a two-day spin to honour the memory of Sarah Dillon, Clonmel, who passed away suddenly last April at the age of 9.
This cycle is organised each year as a training spin for the annual Tour de Munster Cycle, which this year takes place from August 6-9 and in which 150 cyclists will complete a four-day, 640 kms tour through Munster to raise vital funding for the six Munster county branches of Down Syndrome Ireland.
Sarah, along with her parents Trisha McGrath and Brian Dillon have been an integral part of both events and Paul Sheridan, organiser of Tour de Munster said “because Sarah has touched so many lives in a very special way it was only fitting that her beautiful memory should be honoured and remembered. Therefore this cycle is dedicated to Sarah and will now be known as the Sarah Dillon Memorial Cycle.
Sarah not only holds a special place in the cyclists’ hearts but also on their sleeves, as her name was printed on the sleeve of last year’s Tour de Munster cyclists’ jerseys. 150 cyclists wore their jerseys with pride in the hope of keeping this special girl close to their hearts and hopefully offer some support and comfort to Sarah’s family, as well as reminding people that this beautiful girl who is “dancing in Heaven with the angels” will not be forgotten.
Legendary cyclist Sean Kelly, who takes part in the four days of the Tour de Munster in August, presented a signed cyclist’s jersey to Trisha and Brian to honour Sarah’s memory.
With this in mind an open invitation has been extended to all cycling enthusiasts to join in this cycle and share the journey to honour Sarah’s memory.
Tipperary Senior hurlers have come on board to lend their support to the Sarah Dillon Memorial Cycle and thanks are extended to Michael Cahill, Brendan Maher, Darren Gleeson, Michael Butler, Paul Curran, John O’Dwyer, David Butler, Conor Kenny, Stephen Maher, Conor O’Brien and Darragh Egan for taking the time out of their busy training schedule in Dr. Morris Park, Thurles to meet with the families and show their support for this wonderful event.
People are requested to come along and join in this cycle, where day one will see cyclists go from the Park Hotel, Clonmel to Kilkenny, with a choice of three routes of 100, 120 or 135km, with lunch in Kilkenny and then back to the Park Hotel.
Day Two will take cyclists to Carrick-on Suir, through Rathgormack and back to Clonmel in a 60km Loop, with an option to climb Seskin Hill. Both stages will commence at 10am and all cycling enthusiasts are welcome. Registration is free and voluntary donations made to Down Syndrome Ireland will be gratefully accepted.
All interested cyclists are requested to check out the Down Syndrome Tipperary Facebook page for further details.
Down Syndrome Ireland is a voluntary organisation whose main objective is to ensure that each individual has the opportunity to develop to their full potential. The services provided include speech and language therapy, occupational and fitness therapy, art therapy, cookery classes and a host of supports for members and their families. This all takes funding and through the great work of the Tour De Munster cyclists more people will be helped in a practical way.
Volunteers will take to the streets of Clonmel on Saturday February 28 and people are asked to show their support for these wonderful cyclists as they make their way through the town.
This event will celebrate the memory of Sarah Dillon. Sarah was so full of life and loved to dance. She was a member of the On Your Toes Dance group in Clonmel, winning many trophies, and she loved the costumes, the glitz and the sparkle of it all. Sarah was so proud of herself having mastered the one-handed cartwheel. She also played football with Clonmel Town Football for All and was also a member of the Dolphin Swimming Club, Clonmel.
“We will cherish the memory of Sarah Dillon with her cheeky grin and sparkle in her eyes and remember to speak her name and celebrate her very short but very full life”, says Marie Kenny of Down Syndrome Tipperary.