IMNDA ambassador Todd Nugent, right, with Andrew O'Rourke.

Charlie in people’s thoughts at Drink Tea for MND event

The late Charlie Bird was very much in people’s thoughts at the ‘Drink Tea for MND’ fundraiser in the Annebrook House Hotel.

The well-attended event took place on Friday March 15 just a few days after the former RTÉ journalist passed away after a two-and-half-year battle with motor neurone disease.

In the last two years of his life, Mr Bird raised €3.6m for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House, mainly through his Climb with Charlie fundraiser, for which he and hundreds of others climbed Croke Patrick. He also published a Climb with Charlie book.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Mullingar IMNDA ambassador Todd Nugent said that Mr Bird was an inspirational figure to many.

“We know Charlie Bird raised €3.6m, but what he also did something money can’t buy, and that’s raise awareness. That was very important, as well.

“Years ago people wouldn’t have heard of motor neuron disease and even though there are only 450 people in Ireland with it, people are aware of it.

“I met him at Croke Patrick when he did the walk. He was a lovely man. He was an inspiration to people, it’s as simple as that. I remember the first time he was on the Late Late Show, he said he wouldn’t even see Christmas, but yet he saw two more.”

Mr Nugent, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2010, paid tribute to the people of Mullingar for their continuing support for the IMNDA.

“I was going to say I can’t believe it, but from past experience I can well believe it,” Mr Nugent added.