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Antrim businessman runs over 60 miles raising over £6k for Children’s Cancer Unit

GBS Roofing's Managing Director, Barry Mairs and son Noah aged 8, pictured with Carol Ann Jackson from the Children’s Cancer Unit, Jacqueline Wilkinson from The Childrens Cancer Unit Charity and Francine McDonald and Bernie McShane from the Children’s Cancer Unit after completing a run from Portrush East Strand to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in under 11 hours. The run has raised over £6000 for the charity. (Photo: Darren Kidd at Press Eye)

An Antrim businessman has completed his challenge of running from Portrush to Belfast in under 11 hours, raising over £6,000 for The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, based at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Barry Mairs, Managing Director of GBS Roofing, based in Antrim, ran from Portrush East Strand to the doors of the children’s hospital yesterday (Friday 4 September) clocking up over 60 miles.

The Children’s Cancer Unit is the only place in Northern Ireland where children can receive specialist treatment for cancer. Children affected by cancer and blood disorders are treated and cared for by a team of experienced and devoted medical professionals and staff.

Barry’s running route, further than two marathons combined, will took him via Ballymoney, Dunloy, Cullybackey, Ballymena, Antrim, Parkgate, Templepatrick and Belfast before arriving at the hospital in the afternoon.

Speaking ahead of the gruelling challenge Barry Mairs, Managing Director, GBS Roofing said: “Charities are facing huge fundraising challenges at the moment, so it is important that we continue to help in any way we can. The Children’s Cancer Unit provides vital specialist care and support to children and their families during the most difficult time of their lives. “GBS Roofing had adopted The Children’s Cancer Unit as its charity for 2020 but the pandemic meant some of our fundraising events had to be postponed. This 55 mile run will hopefully help us to achieve our target in a safe, socially distanced way. “Our aim is to raise £4000 to provide the Children’s Cancer Unit with an interactive robot for the classroom. This robot allows children who are living with cancer to experience some normality by helping with their return to schooling, as well as supporting their mental and social wellbeing.

“After just a few months of lockdown, I’m sure we can all appreciate how important returning to normality is, especially for children with cancer who have to socially distance year after year. I know these are difficult times for many people so any donation you can give will be very much appreciated.”

Surpassing his fundraising goal, with over £6,000 raised so far, Barry commented yesterday, “The support along the way - especially in Cullybackey, Kells and Templepatrick, was just fantastic!”

Barry is no stranger to competitive sport and endurance events. In his youth he was Northern Ireland karate champion, representing NI in European competitions. After several years of playing rugby for Antrim, Ballymena and Holywood, and completing the Belfast and London marathons, he took up triathlons and is now a three-time Ironman having completed the gruelling global endurance events in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Donations can still be made by visiting:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gbs-roofing-ltd2020 About The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity: https://childrenscancerunit.com About GBS Roofing: https://www.gbsroofing.co.uk