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In June 2015 Michael McClughin will celebrate going past his 50th year by departing from Belfast on his bicycle, with the intention of visiting as many other ‘Belfasts’ (as is practicable) around the world, cycling approximately 18,000+ miles, before returning by June 2016!
Michael says......"Having spent 6 months doing voluntary work in Namibia with Raleigh International in 2001, helping to develop 100+ young people from Northern Ireland, I was keen to continue volunteering to help the same age group when I got home.
When one of the locally based RI staff (Cath McBride) got a new job working at Belfast Activity Centre, based at Barnett's Park, there was a natural progression for me to get involved....combining my enjoyment of sport with my desire to help some young people achieve their goals through physical activity.
Over the years, I've been involved in a variety of ways to help them out.....taking cycling groups to the Mournes and round Lough Neagh......helping out at abseils off the Europa Hotel.......and even taking a group of people to Cape Town in 2006 to undertake a multi-sport challenge we called the 'Cape Big 5' (see photos).
My niece, Molly, also benefited through BAC, following her scare with cancer, and was able to travel over to the USA, with others, to attend a specific 'cancer camp', meeting other kids who had been through the same experiences. She has since gone on to do her school required work experience at BAC, and also helps out as a volunteer.
BAC continues to expand, with more and more progressive plans as the years roll on......not content with building a boat house at Shaw's Bridge, allowing for accessible kayaking, but are now developing a new outdoor Centre in the Mourne Mountains, which in the years to come, will provide 1000's of young people, from a wide range of backgrounds and with varying abilities, the opportunity to test themselves in the great outdoors.
Once I had decided I was going to do this challenge, I had no hesitation in deciding that Belfast Activity Centre should be one of the charities that I hope to raise some money for.
Thank you for reading this....wish me luck!"
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