Big hearted truckers light up for Lar

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

‘Keep Her Lit for Lar’ saw an incredible 460 drivers and vehicles join in a fundraising parade on Sunday last (Jan 2), dedicated to the late Lar McGuinness who sadly died last January.

Trucks, jeeps, tractors, vintage cars and motor cycles were presented in pristine condition and decked with festive lighting. The entourage gathered at Man O’War GAA Clubhouse and Country Crest, close to Balrothery. Drivers arrived from 2pm with the spectacular parade weaving its way across Fingal, through Lusk, Rush, Loughshinny, Skerries, Balbriggan and Balrothery.

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Even one lady contacted the organising committee to say she was amazed at the sight from the air, as she was flying home from Portugal that evening!

The late Lar McGuinness was a farmer from Rush, aged 47 when he died from cancer last year.  He is survived by his wife Maeve and the couple’s daughters Caoimhe, Dareon and baby Aideen who arrived in September 2019.

It was love of his family and a deep faith that kept Lar positive during his illness. He is reported as never wanting to get progress reviews from his oncologist – he simply always said: “Just Keep Her Lit”, hence the name of the inaugural event dedicated to him on Sunday last.

Sunday’s event will benefit charities: Aoife’s Clown Doctors, LauraLynn Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, The Friends of St Luke’s Cancer Care and Skerries Youth Support Services.

The latter was important to the late Lar, as he lost a close friend to suicide in 1996, so he fully recognised the need for support services for young people experiencing mental health issues.

The McGuinness family along with friends and community groups, sought the support of the organisers of ‘Fionn’s Parade of Lights’ and formed a committee to host their own event for Lar.

Emma Hoey, founder of the Keep Her Lit for Lar FB page and secretary of the event committee, stated the support from the community and beyond was incredible and exceeded all the committee’s expectations.

From Skerries, Ms Hoey stated:

“How incredible was the turnout last Sunday! We cannot believe the amazing response – our expectations were doubled and more!

“The atmosphere was electric and everyone was in such great spirits.  Drivers arrived with the most amazingly decorated and shiny vehicles.”

It was 5pm before the engines roared and the evening sky was lit up with thousands of Christmas lights on vehicles, and the hour-long parade commenced.

She continued: “Horns beeped, boom boxes played all the Christmas hits as volunteer groups got into their positions to marshal, register and direct the huge number of vehicles.

“As this was happening, teams gathered with collection buckets and took off ahead of the parade to the towns along the route. Reports at base told us that the first vehicles were nearly at Skerries when the last vehicles were departing from the Man O’War area.”

A tractor remained parked and lit at Whitestown Cemetery, Rush where the late Lar is laid to rest, with some homeowners even posting ‘Lar’ in lights on their gates.

Ms Hoey stated the iDonate page would remain open till the end of January so Gazette readers can still donate to the charities listed above. She further reminded that Barney Greene’s Tractor Run for St Francis Hospice will be held on Sunday next (Jan 9) at 12 noon from the Man O’War pub, Balrothery.

You can contribute to Keep Her Lit for Lar at https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11421125_keep-her-lit-for-lar-s-page

“Funds have climbed significantly since Sunday.  We will in due course issue the full amount, and acknowledge all the support but for now, we give this moment to the late Lar. “

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