Belfast Telegraph

Biker takes to the high roads of Europe to help a Belfast hospital

By Nevin Farrell

A motorcyclist is undertaking an emotionally-charged journey along some of the highest roads in Europe to raise money for a Belfast hospital.

Brendan Burns is set to travel across the mighty Pyrenees and down to the Mediterranean Sea in memory of his sister, who tragically died following a road accident at Christmas in 1988.

Mr Burns, who is originally from the Antrim Road area of Belfast, aims to drive between the Atlantic Ocean from France's Bay of Biscay, across the Pyrenees and down to the Mediterranean Sea.

The 46-year-old construction manager, who now lives in Surrey near London, is hoping to cross the Pyrenees in 10 days.

The trip starts on August 16 and is being held just over a quarter of a century after his sister Kathy's death aged just six, during what should have been a happy, festive period for her family.

Kathy was involved in a road accident in Belfast during the Christmas school holidays and died three days later on Boxing Day at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

He said: "Kathy was treated at the Children's Hospital and although she fought bravely for her life we would lose her in the most heartbreaking circumstances.

"My memories of that time are still very much alive and such a defining event in my life, coupled with the profound loss, have brought me to where I am today.

"I realised and understood, not immediately but through time, how important the work and care carried out at the Children's Hospital is.

"I was able to walk away and deal with the unfolding tragedy of my loss but the work at the Children's goes on, day in, day out," said Brendan.

All these years later he feels it is time to thank the hospital and their staff to raise at least £5,000 for their charity, which is called Helping Hand.

Helping Hand was established by the medical staff at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with the single aim of improving healthcare for children attending the hospital.

If you would like to donate to Brendan's fundraising effort log on to www.justgiving.com/ Brendan-Burns

Factfile

Brendan will leave San Sebastian in the Basque region of Spain on his 125 Nevada Cruiser motorbike before stopping in the town of Irun on the border between Spain and France.

Then it is onwards and upwards through the mountains to the independent nation of Andorra and into Catalonia in Spain. From there, he is still undecided which part of the Mediterranean coast he will head for, but it is likely to be a town called Roses near Figueres which has Barcelona as its closest major city.

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