As well-known Castlerock man Derek Thorpe approached his 50th birthday, he had only one aim in mind: to raise as much money as possible for charity.
Big-hearted Derek set about organising a party to remember, in Bertha’s Bar in Castlerock.
Supported by his good friend, Andrew Hutchinson, and making use of the many contacts he had made over the years, Derek began to gather a wide range of memorabilia and other valuable items to auction for charity. Boxing legend Barry McGuigan generously donated a pair of signed boxing gloves, as did Carl Frampton.
Former Ulster and British Lions rugby players provided an autographed shirt, and former Northern Ireland and Manchester United goalkeeper, Harry Gregg, donated some signed photographs from the era of the Busby Babes. Other valuable prizes included a voucher for a stay in the Killyhevlin Hotel in Fermanagh.
Derek’s auction raised a magnificent £7500 for the NI Chest, Heart and Stroke, and Marie Curie Cancer Care charities.
But the fund-raising didn’t stop there: Derek’s friend and co-conspirator, Andrew Hutchinson, decided to raise additional funds by running his own marathon. He was assisted in his 26 mile challenge by a large number of support runners and by Jason Maguire and David Bowman, who acted as his bicycle backup team. Andrew’s personal marathon has already raised more than £20,000 to add to Derek’s total.
Derek’s birthday fundraiser is typical of a man who is well known both for his sense of fun and for his willingness to help others.