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Charlie Bird on the Croagh Patrick climb today. West Radio/Facebook
Charlie Bird

Celebrations as Charlie Bird reaches top of Croagh Patrick alongside family and supporters

More than €1 million has been raised so far in the campaign set up by Charlie Bird.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Apr 2022

VETERAN BROADCASTER CHARLIE Bird reached the top of Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo as part of a fundraising campaign for two causes. 

Thousands of people have taken part in almost 200 separate Climb with Charlie fundraisers in Ireland, the US, South Africa, Australia and Spain today.

Bird set up the campaign following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease last year.  

Organisers said it has raised over €1.4 million so far for Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. 

Bird (72) raised his climbing stick in triumph as he reached the top.

He then lit five candles in the small chapel at the summit.

Bird said each candle served a purpose – one for campaigner Vicky Phelan, one for people with a terminal illness, one for people in a “dark place with their mental health”, one for everyone who helped during the pandemic and the last for the people of Ukraine.

Hundreds joined him on the Saturday morning climb up the mountain known as the Reek.

Among them was the host of RTE’s flagship The Late Late Show Ryan Tubridy, singer Daniel O’Donnell and former champion boxer Barry McGuigan.

Bird was accompanied by his wife Claire and daughters Orla and Neasa.

“I am truly humbled and inspired that so many thousands of people took part in Climb with Charlie events across the world,” he said.

I want to thank people all across the country for their incredible support throughout this journey.

“All of the generous donations will go to the two charities which are so close to my heart. It is an amazing gesture of support for me and my family.

“Throughout this campaign, we have had the support of so many wonderful people and organisations, and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

“I would also like to particularly thank the Defence Forces, An Garda Siochana, Mayo Mountain Rescue, the Order of Malta and all our local volunteers for making our climb today possible.”

Bird said he is “truly humbled and inspired” by participation in the campaign. 

“All of the generous donations will go to the two charities which are so close to my heart. It is an amazing gesture of support for me and my family,” he said in a statement. 

Writing for The Journal, the broadcaster earlier said he was looking forward to the climb.

“This has been quite a journey for me and I cannot thank enough the people of Ireland and across many other parts of the world for stepping out and climbing with me,” he wrote.

He said in February that his voice had deteriorated and he started using a voice bank communication app.

On RTÉ’s The Late Late Show last night, the broadcaster said it would be “an amazing day not just on Croagh Patrick but in over 200 places across Ireland and in many parts of the world”.

The Taoiseach passed on a message of good luck for today’s climb. 

“Wonderful to see the money raised by your Croagh Patrick climb  – I know the whole country is right behind you every step of the way,” Micheál Martin said on Twitter.

President Michael D Higgins also wished Bird “every good wish and warmest support”. 

“Charlie’s strength and dignity over recent months has been a source of true inspiration to people across Ireland and beyond. I know that the public will be with him every step of the way,” the president tweeted.

The Croagh Patrick climb began at 9.30am and was streamed online. Donations to the campaign remain open on the Climb with Charlie website.  

With reporting by Eoghan Dalton and the Press Association

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