CAHERLINE National School have taught an important lesson to their pupils - by working together a lot can be accomplished.
The thought of running a marathon would bring most of us out in a cold sweat but that’s exactly what parents and children have done.
The relay marathon in the University of Limerick was the idea of Jackie Gaffrey, chairperson of the school’s parents association.
“I’m involved with fundraising for cystic fibrosis in Limerick and we did it last year for TLC4CF.
“The idea cane from a guy involved in running. It is 105 laps of the track to complete a full marathon.
“The school had never undertaken something like this so I said fingers crossed it will all go well,” explains Mrs Gaffrey.
As luck would have it there are 101 families in Caherline National School. And in a remarkable show of school spirit every single family was togged out and ready for the lap around UL’s track.
“Every family was given a sponsorship card. If every family brought back €50 we said we would be delighted,” said Mrs Gaffrey.
As there were still four laps to be completed who better than some of Limerick’s best known sporting stars to help out.
“John Hayes and his family started it off for us. He did it last year for TLC4CF too. Gavin O’Mahony did the second lap and Limerick helped out with the third lap. Leo the Lion was a bit hit with the children,” smiled Mrs Gaffrey, who is married to Peter Kearns and they have three children - Andrew, 10, Cathal, 8 and Kevin, 4.
The teachers didn’t let the side down either as they completed the fourth lap.
Over a hundred laps later the marathon was complete.
As it stands over €6,300 has been collected. Every cent will go back into pupils’ education.
As school numbers are increasing - upto 162 in September - a two room extension is currently being built.
“Some of the money will go towards that. We have a music bank in the school where families can rent an instrument.
“Because of the growing numbers in the school we are under pressure to buy more instruments so we hope some of the money will go towards that.
“We are hoping to set up a library within the school as well so we hope to buy books too,” said Mrs Gaffrey, who wished to thank school principal Michael McCarthy, the parents association and her fellow members of the fundraising committee - Eilis Tiernan, Gemma Murnane and Leighton Donovan.
“We have a fantastic parents association, a very vibrant committee of 20 which is fantastic.
“I thought the marathon relay would be something different and the new principal, Michael McCarthy, said go ahead.”
And she isn’t stopping there. Mrs Gaffrey is already planning her next unique fundraising event and yet again parents will have to earn any money collected!
“We’re doing a 3km wellie walk in September in connection with opening the extension,” says Mrs Gaffrey.