Cycling cricketers go out of their way to help former Ireland international Andy Patterson
Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in Armagh and ending a day later in Greenisland, the team traveled an incredible 400 km (248 miles) around the Northern Cricket Union cricket grounds as part of a fundraising effort funds for Andy Patterson.
A former Irish international cricketer, Andy was diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) which causes weakness and stiffness in the muscles of the legs, in 2013.
This condition will result in Andy’s confinement in a wheelchair and the 45-year-old has had to renovate his home in London in order to make life more comfortable.
Kyle McCallan, a longtime friend of Patterson’s, got together with other friends and former teammates of Andy to create Pedal4Patto.
Their evenings and weekends over the past few months have been dominated by preparation for the cycle, with many hours spent away from wives and young families.
The team was supposed to adhere to a strict schedule, with designated arrival times at each club. But the welcome they received meant they often stayed longer than they should, meaning they didn’t arrive at their overnight stay in Muckamore until 2 a.m.
“We were absolutely blown away by the welcome we received in the clubs, people turned out to support us, not only with food and drink, but with words of support, and that really motivated us” , McCallan said.
“It’s probably best summed up by the welcome we had at Stormont. We got there late around 12:15 pm, but Peter McMorran and his wife were still there, with a whole coffee in their safe. It sums up the generosity of spirit that the entire cricket community has shown.
There were well over 100 people to greet the battered and bruised cyclists when they arrived in Greenisland yesterday morning, including the parents of Andy Billy and Phyllis.
“It was a very emotional moment to see the welcome at the finish line with so many of our friends and family,” added Kyle.
“We had Andy on the phone and it was emotional for us and for him. To be honest, we were so tired at this point that we didn’t really know what to say.
The response to GoFund’s effort has been phenomenal with Pedal4Patto’s target already surpassed with over £ 25,000 raised.
“So many people have supported us, joining us at different stages, and we thank each and every one of them,” Kyle said.