500 miles and counting! Mark Lynn Foundation proclaims thanks to supporters

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

A Ballymena boy’s love for the hit Proclaimers’ song ‘ 500 miles’ has helped inspire a superb fund raising effort for a charity which supports families coping with chronic illnesses.

Mark Lynn was born with congenital Heart disease and endured many operations and hospital treatments throughout his life. He battled bravely until the age of eight when he sadly passed away.

After Mark’s passing, the Lynn family decided to start a foundation in his memory with the aim of helping other families facing similar issues.

Mark’s parents, Donna and Geoff, who live at Ballykeel, have been deeply touched by all the support the foundation has received from far and wide.

And they have been particularly moved by the efforts of those who took part in the ‘500 mile challenge’ which reflects their late son’s love for the pop classic.

During April and May, volunteers have been stepping out through rain and shine to clock up the sponsored miles to raise money for the foundation.

And one of those walkers has taken the challenge right back to the homeland of The Proclaimers with a tough walk along the West Highland Way.

LJ Shanks, from Ballymena, said: “ I was really impressed by what this foundation brings to families across Northern Ireland so I decided to walk 96 miles across the West Highland Way to rasie funds.”

With its spectacular scenery of hills, mountains, rivers and lochs, the 96 mile West Highland Way is Scotland's premier trail walking route.

Starting from the north-west suburbs of Glasgow this way-marked route takes walkers from the lowlands to the Highlands of Scotland taking in Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Ben Nevis.

LJ added: “Mark enjoyed every essence of life, always smiling and making others smile back. I’m hoping my walk will go a little way towards keeping the families helped by the Mark Lynn Foundation smiling during difficult and trying times.”

Donna Lynn said she had been ‘truly humbled’ by the efforts shown by all those who took up the ‘500 mile challenge’.

She said: “A super big thank you to all the walkers and bikers who took part in the 500miles challenge in April.

“Between them they blasted through the 500miles! well over 1000 miles was achieved.They raised a fantastic £1830.

“So well done to Dawny Jo Ritchie, Caroline Montgomery, Jessica Shire, Chrisy Bruce and Zarra-louise Bamber.

“ Mark lynn CHD Foundation is totally grateful for all your hard work and support. This money will go towards fun in the sun gifts for children with chronic illnesses.”

. The Mark Lynn foundation lives on to support other families coping with chronic illinesses including

-Congenital Heart Disease

-Cerebral Palsy

- Asthma

-Cystic Fibrosis


-Spina Bifida

- Cancer

It provides loving care and support for the entire family during and after hospital stays.

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