Claragh Bridge rally raises £3,000 for charity

Claragh Bridge rally raises £3,000 for charity

8 May 2019

CLARAGH Bridge Vintage Club held their annual rally in aid of Motor Neurone Disease Association (NI) under blue skies and fine sunshine on Friday evening. 

Over 128 tractors and 50 vintage classic cars and Land Rovers revved up their engines and took to the grassy catwalk, in the field behind Oasis Community Centre. 

The event was organised by club chairman Liam Quinn, from Drumaroad, in memory of local farmer Hugh McClean, from Ballykinlar, who died from the illness in September last year, just six years after his diagnosis. He was 76. 

The evening, which raised approximately £3,000 for the charity, was attended by William Annett, from Maghera, who also suffers from the disease, and Stephen Thompson from Motor Neurone Disease NI. 

Tea, coffee and sandwiches followed the event in Oasis Community Centre which also helped to push up the final total. 

Aidan McClean thanked Claragh Vintage Club for organising the event in his father’s memory. 

He said: “My family and I are very grateful to Liam Quinn for designating Motor Neurone Disease NI as the club’s charity for this year’s rally and to everyone who attended the event, brought their tractor or car along, or supported the rally.

“It goes a long way in raising awareness for this merciless illness. My father, who worked for the Department of Agriculture for 33 years, was diagnosed in the summer of 2012 and died in September last year. 

“My mother Bernadette cared for him most of that time. They had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary before he died. He lost the power of his arms before it eventually ravaged his whole body and weakened his organs. We miss him very much.

Mr McClean added: “At the moment there is no cure for the disease but we would just like to ensure a cure is possible soon. Around one third of all sufferers die within two years of diagnosis.”

Mr Quinn said: “There was as many spectators at the event as there were tractors and vintage cars. We were delighted with the turn-out and want to thank all those who supported the event and donated to the charity. 

He added: “Claragh Bridge Vintage Club was formed back in 2004 and this is the fifth consecutive year we managed to stage a vintage rally in aid of five separate local charities. We are eternally grateful to all those that support us.”