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12 Gardai to honour Chris Byrne's memory with Holyhead to Dublin row tomorrow

They’ll be rowing for up to 15 hours tomorrow to raise €50,000 for Beaumont.

12 members of the Gardai are set to row from Hollyhead to Dublin Port to raise funds for Beaumont tomorrow.
12 members of the Gardai are set to row from Hollyhead to Dublin Port to raise funds for Beaumont tomorrow.
Image: Facebook/TheChrisCrossing

IN MARCH 2016, Chris Byrne died as the result of a brain tumour aged just 31.

The son of former Shamrock Rovers legend Jody Byrne was first diagnosed just four weeks after his wife Caroline gave birth to their only child, Harry.

And it is Caroline’s colleagues, 12 members of An Garda Síochána from Dublin, who at 4am tomorrow will step into a boat at Holyhead and row for 12-15 hours across the Irish sea.

The dozen novices, who range in rank from Garda to Inspector, are taking part in the row not just in memory of their colleague’s late husband, but to raise €50,000 for the Beaumont Hospital where he was treated.

“I would be very close to Caroline and her family,” Garda John Dolan told The42 this week.

“We’d have attended each other’s weddings and been through a lot together so when this came up as an opportunity to do something in Chris’s memory and raise funds for a good cause, I didn’t have to be asked twice.”

2790d05c-c3f5-48e3-b3c8-f9c0fbf05272 Chris Byrne with his dad Jody during his playing days. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

And while the weather has turned in their favour of late, Dolan says it was the thought of what the Byrne family have been through recently that kept him and his colleagues motivated through their hours of winter training.

“It didn’t even have to be said to be honest. We started training last year and I can’t even count all the hours we’ve done in gym and in the boat, but it’s nothing when you think about why we’re doing it.”

While Chris Byrne’s outcome may not have been the one hoped for, Dolan says that Beaumont was the obvious choice when it came to selecting a beneficiary for the row with its team of 11 neurosurgeons removing brain tumours from up to 450 patients annually.

13118912_489984311191214_1254351093129513640_n Training was never dull. Source: Facebook.com/TheChrisCrossing

The tide will decide exactly what time the row gets under way on Saturday but it’s likely to be 4am when the 12 leave Holyhead to make their way to Dublin Port.

Anyone interested in greeting the crew can track their progress across the Irish sea on their Facebook page with their location updated every 15 minutes.

“We’re still a little short of our target,” admits Dolan “but if people donate by text they could win a trip of a lifetime to Euro 2016 and I think that might just be the incentive to get us over the line.

“If you text EURO16 to 50300, we get €4 towards our fundraising and you are automatically entered into a draw for four tickets to Ireland v Italy along with a ferry crossing to Cherbourg and the use of a car as well as a jersey signed by the Ireland squad so I’d like to ask everyone that can to please support us.”

Donations to The Chris Crossing can also be made at www.beaumontfundraising.ie, by phone to 01–809 2161 or by cheque made payable to The Chris Crossing, c/o Beaumont Hospital Foundation, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9.

For more information, click here.

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Steve O'Rourke

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