James, 9, goes the distance for wheely good cause

by Gazette Reporter

A NINE-YEAR-OLD from Clontarf put his bank holiday weekend to good use – cycling 200km in support of the homeless.

Using an indoor trainer James Cunningham pedalled for 12 hours over two consecutive days to raise funds and highlight homelessness during the pandemic.

James, who has been riding his bike since he was two years old, chose to do the challenge after speaking with his parents.

He asked insightful questions including who was caring for the homeless, how they could cope with social distancing and how charities could get money if they couldn’t get out and fundraise.

James’s proud dad Keith said: “James just loves riding his bike. It is all he ever wants to do.

“He is a sporty kid and loves all sport, especially running, golf and GAA and rugby, but cycling is his passion and every free second he has, he is either on his bike, talking about his bike or watching cycling on the sports channels.

“He has excellent bike skills and is well able to handle 30 to 40km in a spin without breaking much of a sweat.

“He has been using the little park in front of our house to get his daily exercise in due to the 2km restriction, riding and riding around it as much as 50 times a day.”

James chose the Peter McVerry Trust, which worked with 6,184 people across 21 local authorities in 2019, as his chosen charity.

He and his siblings Elise, 12, and six-year-old Benjamin, routinely clear out their wardrobes and toy and book collections and regularly donate to the St Vincent de Paul shop in nearby Fairview.

At Christmas, the children donated a large number of coats and warm clothes to the charity and James’s sister Elise through a project in her school donated over 50 pairs of socks, warm gloves, hats and chocolate bars for those affected by homelessness.

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