Cyclists get into gear for family's tribute tour
Published 19/08/2013 | 08:30
A Co Tyrone family's double tragedy is inspiring them to cycle 180 miles to raise vital funds for charity.
On Friday and Saturday, the Mimnagh family will be taking part in the Tour de Frank cycle from their home town of Killyclogher to Slane, Co Meath, and back, in memory of the head of the family, Frank, and his eldest son, Martin, an endurance athlete.
Frank died in December last year from a cancer-related illness and then on February 18 Martin (40), a father of four children under 10 – Edana, Niall, Maebh and Conor – was tragically killed in a road collision while training for the cycle event.
Martin's brother George Mimnagh said his family's life has been "turned upside down" by what happened, but they are determined the Tour de Frank cycle, involving 140 riders, will celebrate everything that was best about his father and brother and raise awareness of cyclist safety.
George said: "We did not account for the tragic loss of Martin, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin and a friend in an accident while out for a cycle.
"Our lives were turned upside down on this day but together we have decided to carry on with Tour de Frank under the spiritual guidance of Martin in the only way acceptable to him – the right way."
George paid tribute to his father and brother.
"Dad first and foremost was a family man. He lived for his family and in the last 10 years of his life spending time with his grandchildren," he said.
"He was a character who was never lost for something to say whether it was a bit of slagging when the craic was good, a bit of advice when it was needed, though not always heeded, or an arm around the shoulder when there was no need for words.
"Family came first with Martin too. He is survived by his wife, Siobhan, and four children and he adored each one of them. Martin was an athlete who put his all into everything.
"This allowed him to fit sport in around his family life should it be them supporting him at a triathlon or him coaching the children's teams in athletics, swimming or gaelic sports. Anything he did had to be right. The man was a perfectionist analysing everything to the last degree.
"That is why Martin's grand plan, Tour de Frank, must be organised and run right – his way."
Martin said he would love anyone who sees the family on the road on Friday and Saturday to give them a "toot of the horn" or "a wave". More than £10,000 has been raised by the tour so far.
On Friday 23 and Saturday 24, 140 people will cycle to Co Meath and back on the Tour de Frank in memory of Frank and Martin Mimnagh.
A wrap party takes place at The Village Inn, Killyclogher, on Sunday at 8pm.
The Mimnagh family and supporters are raising money for Marie Curie, Irish Hospice Foundation and Palliative Care Omagh.