The 2016 Kenneth and Wayne Scannell Memorial Bike Run, which has proved hugely successful since its inception, will be held this Saturday July 30th.
Kenneth (Kenny) died in a road traffic accident in 2007.
“Kenny loved motorbikes,” explained his sister Sabrina.
“He supported all of the local bike runs and loved going off for spins with his friends. A few months after he passed away, we decided to stage a bike run in his memory.”
The family decided to raise funds for the paediatric ward at University Hospital Waterford, (as Kenny had previously participated in the Toy Run held in support of the unit) and since the first bike run was held in 2008 over €40,000 was raised for the paediatric unit.
However, tragedy struck once again when Wayne died in December 2012.
After Wayne’s death, the family considered discontinuing the bike run.
However, encouraged by the support received from the public, they decided to hold a bike run in memory of both brothers and so the Kenneth and Wayne Memorial Bike Run came into being.
All funds raised from this bike run are donated to Waterford City River Rescue (WCRR).
“Wayne drowned so that’s why we decided to hold the bike run in aid of WCRR,” explained Sabrina.
Her family members have developed a close relationship with those involved with WCRR and were delighted when the group named their training vessel ‘KennethWayne’.
“Proceeds from the bike run have been used to purchase the ‘KennethWayne’ so now we can actually see what the money raised from the bike run has created,” she said.
She continued: “A lot of people are now sceptical of donating to charities, but we are confident because we know that all funds going to them are being used. And WCRR get audited every year because they are registered.”
Sabrina praised the work of all of the volunteers associated with WCRR.
“They all volunteer and whenever there’s an incident they drop whatever they’re doing and off they go,” she said.
Sabrina is hoping that the bike run will be well supported once again this year.
“Since 2008 we’ve had great support. We’ve had fantastic turnouts, and we’re getting even more interest this year,” she said.
“We’ve had absolutely amazing support from the biking community and local businesses that have given us gift vouchers as spot prizes. The weather has always been kind to us in the past as well. There’s always a great atmosphere and children love sitting up on the bikes and getting photos taken.”
The bike run has the support of Gardaí in Waterford and Kilkenny and organisers have gone to great lengths to ensure that safety is paramount.
“We’ve worked very well with the Gardaí and they have been pleased every year with the organisation and layout of the bike run,” explained Sabrina.
Along with the Order of Malta, numerous marshals will be present at the event.
“All of our marshals are handpicked, and a meeting is held before the bike run where rules are set out. That’s how we’ve built such a good reputation for the bike run over the years. We’ve never had any accidents and it has always run very smoothly,” explained Sabrina.
“Many children come along each year so it’s good for them to see this emphasis on safety as, when they grow up, if they continue their interest in bikes they will know the rules involved.”
For the last two years, the Kenneth and Wayne Memorial Bike Run has travelled from Waterford City to Youghal and back again.
However, this year, the bike run will depart The Briar Rose in Ferrybank at 1.30pm and travel through Inistioge and Thomastown and onto Kilkenny Castle.
“It’s a gorgeous route and the scenery is amazing,” said Sabrina.
The bike run will travel back to Ferrybank on the old Waterford-Kilkenny road.
There will be tea, coffee and blaas in The Briar Rose beforehand and chip vans will be on site in Kilkenny for all of the hungry bikers and their supporters.
After the bike run has been completed, there will be refreshments back at The Briar Rose with music later on from 8pm as well as a fantastic raffle with some great spot prizes up for grabs.
Sabrina is encouraging everyone to support this Saturday’s event.
“The majority of the bikers have been with us from day one and we really appreciate their support,” she said.
Anyone that would like to come along and follow the bike run in their car is also encouraged to do so.
And, everyone is welcome to The Briar Rose for a get-together afterwards.
Sponsorship is currently being collected but donations can also be made on the day.
Special bike run t-shirts are on sale also.
Commenting on the event, PRO of WCRR Richard White said: “We are delighted and extremely fortunate to have been chosen once again as the beneficiaries of this event. As always we rely totally on the generous donations of the public and the dedication of our voluntary crews to provide this rescue service along the River Suir.”
In light of recent controversies concerning charities, Richard issued an assurance that all funds raised for WCRR are used correctly.
“We would like the public to know that we are a registered voluntary non-profit organisation and all members give their time voluntary. Our accounts are audited annually which is a requirement under Irish legislation. We can assure you that every cent donated goes directly into training and maintaining/upgrading our personnel and equipment,” he said.
“Having aspired to and passed CRBI and Irish Coast Guard assessments (which are conducted regularly) means that procedures and standards must be maintained to provide this professional service. With the aid of the Irish Coast Guard paging system we are always ready for any incident on a 24 hour basis 365 days a year. A minimum of €20,000 must be raised each year to help with the normal running costs of our unit, and events like this bike run give our crew a little break from fundraising which is also part and parcel of being a member of most voluntary units. The Scannell family have taken on the entire organisation for this event for which we are most grateful.”
Richard is encouraging everyone to support this Saturday’s event.
“We hope that as many people as possible can spare the time to take part in this event,” he said.
“More information on Waterford City River Rescue can be found on our Facebook page ‘Waterford City River Rescue CRBI’ or on our website www.waterfordcityriverrescue.ie. We extend our sincerest thanks to the Scannell family for holding this event which is dedicated to and in the memory of their loved ones. And thanks to our many supporters far and wide who have always been so generous to us.”
Registration and sign in will be held at The Briar Rose Bar, Ferrybank at 12.30pm and the bike run will depart at 1.30pm.
Check out the ‘Kenneth and Wayne Memorial Bike Run’ Facebook page for more information or contact Damian Scannell (087-6635873), Sabrina Scannell (087-1928799) or Richard White (086-3649018).