The idea of the Sponsor Cycle first sprung to mind late in 2015 after my attendance at Provincial Grand Lodge when we received an update on the support given to Northern Ireland's Children to Lapland Trust and the fantastic work which they do.
This got me thinking and after a number of conversations with Lodge Members I put the idea to Cycle from Bishop's Street to Donegal Town to Open Lodge, it was received well.
When the idea first came to mind I could never have imagined the support and assistance that I was to receive, both from within my own Lodge and those Lodges which assisted on the day, namely Ancient Lodge No. 588 Donegal.
On the day we had sixteen starters and departed from Bishop Street just after 9.30am on our way to Strabane and our first ‘pit stop’. Several punctures later and having broken sweat, some for the first time in many years, we were suitably received in Strabane for refreshments. Stage two was from Strabane, crossing the bridge into Donegal and making our way to Stranorlar where again we were received in the usual Masonic manner and treated to a first class homemade lunch by the local Lodge.
It was then back on the bikes for the final push, and for some it may well have been their final push over Barnes Gap, (avoiding the temptation for a quick stop at Biddy's), straight to the Masonic Hall in Donegal Town where we received a warm Donegal welcome by the members of Lodge No.588.
The journey was over, the commitment of the cyclists, the support party and all those behind the scenes, not forgetting the host lodges along the way made the event the success that it was and will result in a substantial presentation to the NI Children to Lapland Trust later in the year, as well as a donation to Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) which the Order continues to support on an ongoing basis.
Later that evening we were treated to a fantastic evening onboard the Water Bus by Lodge 588 and our thanks must go out to all who supported that event also. We look forward to our next challenge, and I would thoroughly commend it to other lodges, to get out there, it's a great way to promote the Order and enjoy some fellowship along the way.