A father-of-two is undertaking a gruelling cycle as part of efforts to provide meals to some of the world’s poorest children.

David Heneghan, 51, will cycle over 2,000kms across Ireland next month to support Mary’s Meals, a charity which serves life-changing school meals to the world’s poorest children.

David is undertaking the fundraising challenge in memory of his mother Maree who sadly died from cancer in March, this year.

He hopes his fundraising cycle will raise over €13,500 – with half of the proceeds going to Mary’s Meals and the remainder to two cancer charities.

David’s family is from Mayo in the west coast of Ireland which is one of the places he will pass through during his cycle along the Wild Atlantic Way – a coastal route from Kinsale in County Cork to Derry. He expects to cycle nearly 160kms every day from June 3-18 without assistance.

The aim of Mary’s Meals is to address the immediate needs of a hungry child by giving them something to eat, and to enable that child to receive the education that can offer an escape from poverty. The charity’s average global cost to feed a child for a whole school year is just €15.60.

Mary’s Meals currently provides 1,230,171 children with a daily meal every school day in the 14 countries it works.

Self-employed David, who lives in Balerno, saw the work of Mary’s Meals first-hand during a visit to Malawi in 2015.

He explained: “I visited Malawi a few years ago as part of a project to renovate a school which had children with special needs – it was a very emotional experience for me. I met a boy called Hope, who received Mary’s Meals every day he attended school.

“Seeing him smile and his joy from having his porridge at school made me determined to do all I could to help Mary’s Meals bring hope to Malawi by feeding as many children as possible.

“I was amazed to learn that it costs so little for Mary’s Meals to feed a child for a whole school year and I have been raising money for the charity in different ways since that visit.”

David added: “My mam embraced her cancer in a way that made me even prouder to be her son. I promised myself that I would complete the cycle in her memory and to maximise the money I raise for charity.”

In preparation for next month, David has clocked up over 3,500 on his bike since Christmas, cycling in all sorts of weather.

Mary’s Meals is a low-cost charity that spends at least 93 cent of every €1 donated on its charitable work. Where Mary’s Meals is provided, there is a rise in rates of enrolment, attendance and academic performance.

Lucy Kirkland said: “We are extremely grateful to David for helping us reach more children with Mary’s Meals and wish him the very best of luck for his big challenge.

“Our work to feed the world’s poorest children in the most deprived countries every day they attend school would not be possible without the generosity of supporters who are inspired to make a difference.”

David will start on June 3, setting out from Schull in Cork and travelling to the village of Glengarrif. The plan from their on in is as follows: June 5, Kenmare; June 6, Killorglin; June 7, Tralee; June 8, Kilkee; June 9, Galway; June 10, Clifden; June 11, 12, Louisburgh/Westport; June 13, Belmullet; June 14, Ballina; June 15, Donegal; June 16, Bunbeg; June 17, Letterkenny; June 18, Derry.

To support David’s fundraising efforts, please visit his Just Giving page on www.justgiving.com/fundraising/David-Heneghan5.

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