A survivor of last year’s Manx2 plane crash can expect a hero’s welcome in Cork today when he completes a charity cycle which followed the same route as the doomed flight.
Mark Dickens was one of six passengers injured when the Belfast to Cork commuter plane crash-landed at Cork Airport in Feb 2011. Six other passengers, including the two pilots, were killed.
Mr Dickens, a father of three from Ashford in Kent, set off four days ago with his brother-in-law on the 500km cycle from Belfast in order to “repay the people of Cork” for the care he received from emergency crews and hospital staff following the crash.
He said he is now almost back to full fitness, having received treatment for broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and shoulder blade, a punctured and collapsed lung and serious nerve damage in his arm, following the crash.
Mr Dickens, a regional security manager, who is hoping to raise €5,000 for Cork’s Children’s Leukaemia Association Ireland, said: “I just want to pay back the people of Cork, including the emergency services and hospital staff, for all the help they gave me in the aftermath of the crash.
“I figured one way of thanking Cork was to raise some money for the Children’s Leukaemia Association, which receives no government funding and relies entirely on voluntary contributions from the public.”
He added: “It took me the best part of three months to recover from the crash and I reckon I’m 95% back to fitness. I took to cycling after the crash and then got the idea to do a charity cycle following the same route as the flight from Belfast to Cork.”
Funds raised from the cycle will help enable the Leukaemia Unit to be relocated to Cork University Hospital, where a Paediatric Centre of Excellence is due to be completed in 2014.
Mark is due to finish the final leg of his cycle at CUH this afternoon.
* For more information, or to donate, see Belfast2Cork on www.mycharity.ie
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved