This will be their 22nd year and they seem to have the same enthusiasm now as they have had since the mid 1990s when it all started.
Laois Vintage Limited have organised 21 Vintage Road Runs since first getting going in 1996 and have raised over €860,000 in that time for Laois Hospice. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, August 19, when it will start and finish, as always, in Treacy’s in The Heath.
Indeed that’s where it started all those years ago when Mervyn Graham and Chris Ryan were chatting over a pint on their way home from a funeral. With the help of proprietor Tommy Treacy, they got it going.
Laois Hospice was the chosen charity and every penny raised was to be kept in the county. A couple of years later Ger Whelan came on board. He had lost his wife to cancer and wanted to contribute to the local charity. A passion for vintage cars and machinery meant that it was a perfect fit. He has been chairman for the last number of years.
Mervyn has since passed away but his wife Noelle has been heavily involved over the years too and is treasurer while Chris Ryan is president. As well as secretary Michelle Harvey they were all at the Gandon Inn on Friday night for the official launch along with other committee members Tommy Treacy, Margaret Moynan, Niall Treacy, Martin Conroy, Martin Delaney, John Lawlor, June Whelan, Marcus Moynan and Tom Geoghegan.
This year’s vintage run will start at 10am with the cars heading to Castlecomer where they will visit the Castlecomer Discovery Park and Coal Mining Museum while the tractors will go on a more leisurely spin to Ballyfin, via Trumera, and will stop off in the Deadman’s Inn in Ballyfin for refreshments.
All vehicles will return to Treacy’s between 3pm and 4pm for a meal and presentation of commemorative plaque.
“As always we would like to assure our sponsors and supporters that all monies raised by Laois Vintage Limited will be donated directly to Laois Hospice,” says chairman Ger Whelan. “Members of the public who give so generously can also be confident that each and every donation received will go solely and exclusively to Laois Hospice care.
“Since it was founded in 1996 Laois Vintage Limited has raised and donated €863,244. This success could not have been achieved without the help our dedicated and numerous vintage enthusiasts, bucket collectors and sponsors who each year give so generously of their time and money.”
While they’re keen to get through this year’s event, the €1m target is looming. Given their success over the years, there’s no doubt that they’ll get there.
The official closing date for entries is this Friday, July 21, and all completed entry forms are to be forward to Ger Whelan, Clonkeen, Mountrath Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois. You can contact Ger on 087 2530124.
If you haven’t received an entry form you are also welcome to join on the day, however a donation towards Laois Hospice is encouraged.
Thanks to Arthur Harvey for sending these pics our way.
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