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Six Belmont Teenagers Receive Canoe Ireland Certs

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Six Belmont Teenagers Receive Canoe Ireland Certs thumbnailThe six teenagers from Belmont who were presented with level two certificates from Canoeing Ireland pictured with guests at the presentation in Belmont recently.

WHAT started out as a learning curve in a local Men's Shed has turned in to an enjoyable experience for both old and young alike in one rural community in County Offaly.

Saturday week last saw six teenagers from Belmont presented with level two certificates from Brian Ogilvy, Canoeing Ireland and Mary Clark, Outdoor Education Centre Birr for their prowess on the water, surrounded by family, friends, instructors and local politicians.

The teenagers spent their mornings in minus temperatures since November last, out learning how to paddle in an effort to obtain a level one certificate which quickly turned into a level two.

The whole experience was one which developed from an idea shared amongst the local Men's Shed and their generous supporter Sandy Lloyd.

Ms Lloyd, the proprietor of Perry's Mill in Belmont, gave room to the local Men's Shed when it first came to fruition in 2014. Since then the shed has grown in stature and has been a benefit to the local community.

To date, members of the shed have assisted the community in many ways including projects such as the making and painting of all local flower boxes placed around the village alongside a bee hive amenity in Perry's Mill where there has been seventy grams of honey made so far.

Nonetheless one of their biggest projects has been the making of canoes. with the help of boat maker Dougal McMahon from Athlone, that can be used on shallow waters.

However, once the canoes were made, the team were at a loss on what direction to take next until they availed of the help of Declan Costello, Offaly Local Development Company, the Outdoor Education Centre Birr and Padraig Minnock.

Six teenagers, some grandchildren of the project builders, came on board and today have completed their level two certificates for paddling, as the canoes could be used locally on the shallow waters of the canal.

The teenagers, Claudia Newman, Emma Cahill, Sean Feighery, Luke Coleman, Katie Newman and Moya Ibbotson spent four weeks out on the water in freezing temperatures to achieve their goal with Padraig stating 'I've the utmost admiration for these young folk, I hope I have planted a seed in Belmont community for paddling.'

Declan Costello, OLDC alluded to the point that 'it is not one person in this, it is everyone working together to make this happen and that's what it's all about.'

Mary Clark, manager of the OEC, reiterated her delight on the completion of the project. 'It took persistence; the young people of today have to be admired. It's a beautiful thing to see in a community and I would just like to congratulate all involved.'

Between the Belmont Men's Shed, Sandy Lloyd, Padraig Minnock and these fantastic young teenagers there is now a fully functioning facility available to keep both the younger and older generations busy in the community.

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