Updated: 13/06/12 : 07:37:01
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'The Walk Must Go On' - Family Honours Champion Fundraiser

'The walk must go on', those were the words spoken in the aftermath of the sudden death of Keash charity fundraising hero Tom Ward (51) on 17 May. Tom collapsed from a sudden heart attack near his home in Keash and sadly passed away upon arrival to Sligo General Hospital.

Tom had been in training for what was to be his final great walk of 130 miles from Spancill Hill Co.Clare to The Fox’s Den Keash Co.Sligo scheduled for next Friday and Saturday (22 and 23 June).

Family and friends of Tom have decided to complete the already planned walk in his memory.

Over the past number of years Tom had taken part in many charity fundraisers, a cycle from Dundalk to Keash for the National council of the Blind, a volunteer at Twin Fest Ireland which has raised funds for the Meningitis Trust Ireland in Memory of his Gran Niece Katie Garvey and most recently a 90 mile walk from Maams Cross Co.Galway in aid of Our Lady’s Hospital for sick children Crumlin.

Tom choose this charity as his grand nephew Keelan underwent major surgery in at the Dublin hospital in January last year.

The stalwart fundraiser set out on August 27th 2011 for the long walk home and returned to Keash the following evening covering 90 miles and raising €2550 for this charity.

'Every Little Helps' was Tom’s motto.

His idea was that if there was anything he could do to assist ‘where he could he would’ and so he planed the 130 Mile walk over a 2 day period to arrive back to The Fox’s Den in Keash on Saturday 23 June (Bonfire Night). Tom amazingly had everything planned including sponsorship cards dispersed to outlets, posters placed in Towns and even the music booked for his return home. All that was left to do was walk the walk.

Sadly this was not to be.

In the days following Tom’s passing his family made the heart rendering decision to continue this mammoth walk in Tom’s memory and raise the funds that he so wished to do.

Under the close supervision and organisation of Tom’s nephew Aiden Ward of Award Coaching Fitness, Tom's walk will begin in the early hours of Friday 22 June leaving Spancill Hill Co. Clare and continue on to Knock Co Mayo where the participating family will stay overnight and continue the walk home on 23 June.

It is envisaged that the family will meet up with friends and neighbours of Tom in the village’s of Gurteen and Culfadda and continue the final leg home together.

On arrival participants will be greeted by a Bonfire, Music and a BBQ.

Anyone wishing to be involved or contribute can do so either by attending the Fox’s Den on June 23rd or making a contribution online directly to Crumlin from Tom's Facebook page.

Last Saturday, (9 June) a Charity Auction took place at Tom’s residence and auctioned off Tom’s belongings and his beloved animals which he was very found of.

The money raised from this auction and a coffee morning, currently in excess of €4,500, is been awarded to his favourite charity. A further €2,000 in online pledges by friends of Tom has yet to be added to this generous donation.

The family have offered their gratitude to all those who have supported them through these difficult times and it is with great honour that the family and friends of Tom take on this 130 mile walk.

May Tom rest in eternal peace.