Hand of Friendship | 

Charlie Bird asks followers to honour ‘remarkable’ Vicky Phelan in sweet tribute

“Vicky helped me through some tough times. Please help me next weekend to honour Vicky and others”

Charlie Bird and Vicky Phelan

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Charlie Bird has asked his followers to join him in honouring his late friend Vicky Phelan on the anniversary of his Climb With Charlie fundraising hike.

The cervical cancer campaigner died aged 48 surrounded by her family at Milford Hospice in Limerick in November.

She and Charlie became fast friends following his motor neurone disease diagnosis in 2021 and had planned to climb Croagh Patrick together last April to raise money for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House.

Unfortunately, Vicky was “simply not well enough either physically or mentally” to take part at the time.

Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Charlie paid tribute to the “remarkable” Limerick woman as he marked the upcoming anniversary of Climb With Charlie on April 2.

Speaking through voice-cloning technology as he sat with his beloved dog Tiger on his lap, he asked his followers to light a candle for Vicky, as well as those suffering with terminal illnesses and mental health problems.

“We are just a week away from the anniversary of that great day last year when thousands and thousands of people across the country and abroad supported Climb With Charlie,” the former broadcaster said.

“There has been great reaction right across the country for my suggestion that to mark the anniversary that we all light a candle, firstly in memory of Vicky Phelan, then everyone who has a terminal illness and for everyone in a dark place, and then for all our frontline workers who every day do incredible work to help us, and finally for the people of Ukraine.

“I got very emotional this morning when I got a message saying Vicky’s family will be joining me next Saturday to light the candles.

“Let’s all extend the hand of friendship and light a candle”.

In the tweet’s caption, he explained that “one amazing aspect” of his motor neuron disease diagnosis is that it allowed him to become friends with Vicky.

“My diagnosis of a terminal illness had one amazing aspect to it. As a result I got to meet the remarkable Vicky Phelan and we kept in contact with each other for over a year. Vicky helped me through some tough times. Please help me next weekend to honour Vicky and others,” he wrote.

Last year, Climb with Charlie raised €3.5 million for Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Charlie previously explained that although he will not be able to climb Croagh Patrick in April to mark the one-year anniversary, he is still preparing to celebrate the milestone.

Heart-warming video of Charlie Bird having a bit of fun with his dog, Tiger.

"Hi from myself and Tiger, even though my health is deteriorating,” he said in another social media message earlier this year.

"Yes, I am struggling now, but as long as I can I want to extend the hand of friendship to everyone. You have lifted my spirits.

“A lot of people have been asking me how I’m going to mark the amazing day on the second of April. Well, to be very honest, while I’m still mobile, with my deteriorating health condition there is no way I could climb a mountain again.

“As long as I have a breath in my body. I’m going to continue extending the hand of friendship,” the 73-year-old added.

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