By David Hennessy
Father Murphy’s Ladies Football and Camogie Club in London will hold a virtual 5k run with all proceeds going towards nurses and healthcare workers. By covering their professional fees for 2021 as a tangible show of support and a huge vote of thanks for all their unselfish work throughout the pandemic.
The club has many nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in their ranks. The club wanted to helping those on the frontline pay their registration fees becaue they saw how much they have been giving and wanted to give something back.
Father Murphy’s usually leads the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year there will be no parade due to the pandemic but several virtual events, with the theme Le Chéile Londáin/ London Together, to honour the Irish Community’s efforts during these tough times.
As part of these celebrations the club will hold their virtual run with players, former players from all over the world and other supporters of the club running a virtual 5k on or before 21 March.
Larry O’Leary, Chairperson of Father Murphy Ladies, told The Irish World: “The club decided we were going to do this.
“We’ve got nurses, occupational therapists and other healthworkers generally and a couple of us said we would do something.
“There was a girl who got up at 5.30am one morning, had a slice of toast, a sip of coffee and started work at 7 and didn’t finish until 8.45pm with just a 20 minute break. She got home exhausted and the thing that triggered it off was there was a letter on the mantelpiece from the Nursing Council saying her £120 registration was due.
“Obviously being so exhausted she felt, ‘Oh well, thanks a bunch’.
“We’ve carried the flag at the head of the parade for seven or eight years now and as they have no parade this year, we wanted to do something as part of the Mayor’s London St. Patrick’s celebrations so we came up with this idea of a virtual 5k and I think there will be 70+ running, that’s between players here and former players who are abroad. That’s USA, Ireland, Australia.. There is support from a good few countries around the world.
“A lot of former players, a lot of supporters. There will be at least 55/60 actual players running it.”
Larry and the club have long realised healthcare workers needed the support, even marching to Downing Street on their behalf back in July.
“All the girls have to pay a registration to the county board to play football and camogie. They have to pay membership, insurance, affiliation, you name it. It amounts to about £60 a head.
“When we were coming out of lockdown last year, myself and the secretary and a few others said, ‘To hell with that, we’re not going to ask them. We get them out and the first thing we ask them for is £60!?
“So the club had the lottery fund so we covered all that with the lottery but this year we felt the nurses had a much tougher time than usual and to be asked to pay a fee to look after others we thought was a little bit rich. We thought we would cover that.
“The Irish World carried a picture in July when I was down at Downing Street and there was two of our girls there on that march. More or less it was saying, Clapping is all very nice but it doesn’t pay the bills’.
“We felt it’s a good thing for the club to do. It’s good to show support to our players in the health service and it’s also nice for the club to be able to do it.”
The club are appealing to business and the Irish community for support enabling them to fully honour their commitments to health workers.
For the run they will have jerseys from Bodibro in Wexford, courtesy of main sponsor Clonakilty Black Pudding.
Anyone wishing to help should contact the club on frmurphys[email protected], through Facebook or call Larry on 07944178879.