OVER €5,000 was raised for cancer charities by the family of the late George Fitzpatrick, the distinguished former Kilkee and Clare footballer, who also served as a Clare FM analyst, before his death in February of this year, aged 51.
His wife Mary, daughters Sinéad and Siobhán and niece, Eimear, all took part in a sponsored skydive in the Silvermines this October in memory of George.
Mary told The Clare Champion that the knowledge that the jump was in George’s memory made it easier. “It was a very emotional day. We were all thinking of George and because we were doing it for him, it was easier. Hopefully the money raised will help others who are suffering from cancer.”
The funds raised to the Irish Cancer Research Society and Monaleen Cancer Care, a support group based close to where George lived and where he worked as principal of the local national school.
Mary said that some months earlier, the decision to do the jump was taken. “I’d never done one before but someone came to the door in June with flyers and asked if I’d be interested. I’d never thought that it could be done so easily and before he left, he had three of us signed up. Sinéad and Siobhán were egging me on and I said to them, ‘if I’m going up, ye are too’.”
Eimear came on board and the fundraising began. She found that there was a generous response, with George’s popularity helping greatly.
While skydiving can be an intensely distressing experience, Mary actually didn’t find it too bad. “We had to circle for about 20 minutes to get to the right height. I wasn’t nervous, I knew I was doing it for George. The freefall is the worst part of it, the first 20 seconds. After that it was much nicer, it’s like floating in the sky.”