Saturday, May 28, 2011

Charlie McGrath will take the scorching heat in Kenya in his Bernie English

AFTER 41 years of firefighting in Kilkee, Charlie McGrath will take the scorching heat in Kenya in his stride. Charlie will be retiring as station master this coming December, having spent his whole life in ther service of the community.
But far from taking a well-deserved rest, Charlie’s first plan is to get on a plane and travel with the Building of Hope volunteers to make life better for the children at the School for the Blind and Visually impaired in Migombani.
A Kilkee man born and bred, Charlie will celebrate his 60th birthday in January with his family before jetting off to Kenya in February with the last group of volunteers to make the building ship-shape.
After the last project in which volunteers built a polytechnic in the parish of Cranny priest, Fr Martin Keane, the Clare building vrew was so moved by the plight of the blind children that they vowed to come back and help.
The project in January will replace their comfortless living accomodation, bunks with no sheets, broken showers, filthy toilets and open-fire cooking area with bright, modern facilities.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” Charlie told The Clare People. “Now is my chance. A Friend of mine went on the last project and he came back and told me all about it and I said, right, that’s what I’m going to do now that I have the time and the chance.”
Charlie has attended more than 3,000 fires in his time with the service and seen his fair share of tragedy. But that hasn’t stopped him wanting to make the world a better place and so he’s off to Kenya.
“I’ve never been to Africa before so I’m really looking forward to it.
I’m not a builder but I’ll be painting and helping finish the project in the last group going out,” he said.
To kick off his fund-raising Charlie has organised a great night of music and dancing in Garrihys of Moyasta.
Pj Murrihy will be providing the music on the night and there are lots of great spot prizes. Doors open 9.30pm and entry to the fun night in a good cause is just €7.

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