Charlie Bird lights candles in the chapel at the top of Croagh Patrick (Paul Allen and Associates/PA)
PA Media - Paul Allen and Associates
Retired Irish broadcaster Charlie Bird has said the fundraising response to his charity mountain climb has passed two million euro.
The ex-RTE chief news correspondent, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, said he is “completely blown away” by the success of the Climb with Charlie campaign.
Bird was cheered by friends and family on Saturday as he achieved his goal of scaling the summit of Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.
His challenge caught the imagination of the public and thousands of people completed their own Climb with Charlie events all over Ireland and further afield on Saturday. Climbs were organised as far away as the US, Australia, South Africa and Spain.
Charlie Bird with members of the Defence Forces on Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo (Paul Allen and Associates/PA)PA Media - Paul Allen and Associates
The campaign is raising funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and mental health charity Pieta.
In Twitter updates on Sunday, Bird said the total had passed two million euro.
“Wow I am completely blown away by the amazing support for climb with Charlie all over the country and abroad,” he said.
The well-known TV journalist added: “I cried so much yesterday, but they were all tears of joy. A big loving hug to everyone. Thanks everyone.”
Bird, 72, raised his climbing stick in triumph as he reached the top of Croagh Patrick.
Extending the hand of friendship is our motto for climbwithcharlie
I can officially confirm we have gone over the… https://t.co/TVmsJMXqxV
Hundreds joined him on the Saturday morning climb up a mountain known as the Reek.
Among them was the host of RTE’s flagship The Late Late Show Ryan Tubridy, and singer Daniel O’Donnell.
Bird, who was accompanied by his wife Claire and daughters Orla and Neasa, lit five candles in the small chapel at the top of the mountain – one for his friend and high-profile campaigner for women battling cervical cancer Vicky Phelan; one for everyone diagnosed with a terminal illness; one for those experiencing mental health difficulties; one for everyone involved in the fight against Covid-19; and a final candle for the people of Ukraine.
Irish President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Michael Martin have both paid tribute to Bird’s fundraising exploits.
The Climb with Charlie fundraising page will remain open for donations for the next three months, at www.climbwithcharlie.ie.