Final meeting of 2013 for Portballintrae Probus

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Porstewart man, Derek Sweetnam was the final guest speaker at Portballintrae Probus Club for 2013.

His talk was entitled the ‘Big Dander’. Since taking early retirement in 1995 Derek has been working as regional co-ordinator with the Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke Association.

Derek gave members a history of the charity’s ‘Big Dander’ event, which first started back in 2000. Without having undertaken any long distance walks in the past, members heard how Derek set himself what seemed to be the impossible task of a long distance walk.

This was to be from Mizen Head in West Cork, where his grandfather came from, to Fair Head on the North Antrim Coast a total of just over 400 miles.

Training for the walk began in mid March using the NW200 circuit.

The walk itself would leave Mizen Head and the target would be 25 miles per day for four days and on day five a rest. Derek’s finish point was Marconi’s Cottage.

Derek’s back-up team was headed by his wife who drove the support vehicle to service the feet when necessary.

At many of the major towns along the route crowds took to the streets to give him support.

As well as highlighting World Heart Day, the walk was also raising funds for a project to support victims of strokes in Roscommon.

After taking questions from members, the President expressed his thanks on what had been a most interesting talk.

The final event of the year was the AGM followed by Christmas lunch. Members were entertained by a local keyboard player Mr Peter Kane.

Portballintrae Probus is now taking a break until the New Year. On Monday, January 6, the new President will be installed.

The Club meets in Bushfoot Golf Club at 10.30, visitors and new members will be given a warm welcome.