Posts Tagged ‘Tour de Munster’

New friends are Silver, old ones are Gold

January 10, 2017

Tour de Munster

Maybe it’s a sign of brighter economic times, maybe it’s a reflection of past experiences with us; whatever it is, I love to see our clients return. And over the last ten years in Fuzion I’ve seen my fair share.

Last September we got a call from the lovely Oonagh Levis and Mary Leahy from Town & Country Hampers, clients we hadn’t worked with since 2011 – but ones that I had fond memories of working with.

As they approached their busiest time of year in the hamper business they contacted us to help push their campaign that little bit further and spread the word that they were celebrating 25 successful years in business. I worked closely with Saidhbh, one of our newer team members on this account, and together we upped the ante in terms of social media activity, as well as securing numerous media competition and profiling opportunities for them.

You can measure column inches, analyse social media statistics, but at the end of the day it’s sales that count for a business like Town & Country Hampers, so we were thrilled when they told us they had their busiest Christmas in years…. Success!

Sometimes we see clients return for a yearly project, the Tour de Munster charity cycle is a great example of this, and that’s a testament to our work and the relationships we build with them. Tour de Munster, led by Paul Sheridan, first teamed up (and that’s what we’ve formed, a team!) with us in its 7th year in 2007, and have worked with us every year since. I was lucky enough to work on this project in the very beginning, and it has been an honour to work on it in some capacity ever since.

Having raised over €2.4 million to date for its various beneficiaries over the last 16 years, this year alone the 600km charity cycle raised €285,655.37 for its beneficiary, the Munster branches of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI). This was the 7th successive year that DSI benefited from the popular cycle. The hard work and dedication from the cyclists and volunteers is been truly incredible, and I am so proud to say that the work we do in Fuzion contributes in some way to the enduring success of Tour.

Over the last three years I’ve met and been inspired by some of Cork’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs through our work on the Local Enterprise Offices’ regional campaign in the search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. This year saw the largest number of entries to date, and I was thrilled to see so many new faces involved. For me this project gives me the chance to support young business people starting out on their journey who might not ordinarily have the resources to work with a PR company.

Who knows, maybe they could be my “returning clients” in a few years’ time!

Alison O'Brien - FuzionAlison O’Brien

Alison O’Brien is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing & Design, who have offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Patrick’s Hill, Heroes and Villains

August 17, 2011
Tour de Munster - Down Syndrome Ireland

The Anticipation

We anxiously waited on Patrick’s Hill in Cork alongside partners, children, other family members, people from the charity, collectors, sponsors, spectators, cycle fans and curious onlookers.

This was the finale of the Tour de Munster, one last leg of the gruelling 600km cycle around Munster in just four days. The 150 cyclists were delayed as there was a nasty tumble earlier in the day when one of the guys had a bad fall and suffered concussion – this left the schedule about an hour behind.

Every year Paul Sheridan and his team of cycling and fundraising enthusiasts endure this four days of madness for a different charity. For the second year in succession Down Syndrome Ireland are the chosen recipients for all the fundraising efforts, which already look like they are going to break all previous records.

Months of organisation, training, discipline and endurance have gone into this and every other Tour de Munster, which is now in its 11th year. Paul Sheridan is a tough task master and every year for months in advance he drives this team of cyclists hard, preparing them for these gruelling four days.

Tour de Munster - Down Syndrom Ireland

Who said this would be easy?

There are some seasoned cyclists in the troop but the 150 is also made up of a random mix of all sorts who have committed themselves to this crazy challenge. This includes parents of kids with Down Syndrome who are literally cycling for better facilities for their children – these aren’t superb athletes, just ordinary folks with ordinary lives doing extraordinary things.

The excitement is building on Patrick’s Hill and then we have the most awful incident – Ger McCarthy the professional press photographer while preparing to capture images for the newspapers the next morning turns his back for two seconds and discovers that both his expensive Nikon cameras have been stolen (Nikon D3 & D3s).

Did anyone spot anything? – this was done so swiftly and so professionally no one really realised the seriousness of what was happening around them. Basically a car (reddish/maroon old model Toyota) with a few opportunistic men (I don’t want to be racist but these guys have been described as Hispanic looking) drove up Patrick’s Hill, spotted the cameras on the ground behind Ger, did a quick u-turn, pulled in just him and quickly snatched the cameras and sped off… well done boys, aren’t you just fabulous!

Thankfully Griffith College have cameras outside their building and our two opportunists have been captured on camera – hopefully this will result in them getting what they deserve.

I must admit I was so furious and really upset about this – in the middle of all this “goodness” these thieves just turn up and show us all the other side of life.

A few phone calls later and Ger, the ever professional has a replacement camera and we have contacted the Gardai, the newspapers and radio stations and also been busy getting the message out on Twitter and Facebook.

Ger puts the incident to the back of his head and readies himself for the cycling troop.

Sean Kelly - Tour de Munster
Sean Kelly leads the Heroes up Patrick’s Hill

The excitement continues to build and eventually the 150 troop are spotted coming across Patrick’s Bridge escorted by a Gardai motorbike team. They stop at the end of the bridge while the Gardai manage the traffic to let the cyclists through. Led by the absolute Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly who stayed with the team for the full four day cycle the cyclists burst from the bridge, up Bridge Street and start the determined and punishing climb up Patrick’s Hill with hundreds of friends and spectators cheering them on and encouraging them to the summit.

Some at their own manageable pace and some sprinting to the top – the daunting hill is a little bit too much for some of the cyclists after the 600 kilometre, four day test and they carry their bikes up the hill.

The last leg is a short journey to the Silversprings hotel for family reunions, refreshments and celebrations – in the comfort of our car we make our way to the hotel and pass four of the cyclists who stopped to help one of the guys fix a puncture literally one minute from the hotel – this cycle is about something very, very special.

The courageous efforts by these heroes will benefit the many heroes in Munster affected with Down Syndrome.

Unfortunately as in every other walk of life for all of the heroes we have we also have too many villains.

Villains – take a good hard look at yourself and realise what you are doing to good people … don’t forget you were caught on camera!

Heroes – I salute you.

Ger McCarthy – thanks for being a total professional as always & we all hope you will get your gear back.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

*Great Update – on Wednesday17th August (just 3 days after the incident) the cameras were recovered as a result of a house raid by the Gardai – this was possible due to the cameras, the help from the public, the help from the media and getting the story out on social media – all of this culminated in our friends being identified.

Good wins out in the end !

 


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