Jim ends virtual cycle around Ireland – at 96

Jim Copeland, described as Northern Ireland’s answer to the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised millions for NHS charities by pacing his garden, uses an exercise bike to complete a virtual journey across Ireland of more than 1,000km (621 miles) to complete. to raise money for a charity established in memory of his granddaughter.

Like Captain Moore, Mr. Copeland is a World War II veteran who served in the Home Guard.

He started his challenge in August last year, cycling two to three kilometers a day and by winter had completed a 180km journey with a virtual route that included all the cities he had lived in during his life including Waringstown, Bangor , Dungannon, Killyman and graduation in the town of his birth – Aughnacloy.

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Jim Copeland

He has set a new target for 2022 to complete a virtual route around Ireland – from Belfast to Dublin, then to Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Londonderry and back to Belfast – a distance of 1,056km.

He will complete his latest challenge six months ahead of schedule with a special Saturday week fundraiser at Craigavon ​​Lakes.

The Cycling Challenge benefits a charity established in memory of his late granddaughter, Charlene Barr, who died in October 2010 at the age of 20.

Charlene, who had cystic fibrosis, was in the hospital awaiting a life-saving double lung transplant when she started Charlene’s Project in 2008.

Jim Copeland

She had visited Uganda with her family the year before and was so taken by poverty that she set up a fund to build a school there in the last months of her life.

She managed to raise £120,000 and the school was founded but unfortunately she never got to see the building completed before her death.

The current fundraiser is to fund the school’s ‘Stage 2′, including a boys’ boarding school, roads, water and electricity connections.

Mr Copeland’s son-in-law Dickie Barr said: “Poppa Jim is no ordinary 95-year-old.

“Because he was struggling with health during lockdown, he started doing a little work on a wheel machine to help with his sore knees. The rest is history.”

He continued, “He will have just turned 96 as he continues to raise funds for Stage 2 at Charlene Secondary School in Uganda.

“Phase 2 includes the boys’ boarding school, administration building, shower building, solar installation, securing the generator, ensuring internet connection to the school, completing the landscaping and the roads, paths and curbs for the school, and expanding the water supply.”

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