By Tommy Lamb
The David McCall Cycling Foundation was launched this week in memory of Davy McCall, a 46 year-old former Irish international cycling star who was killed tragically last month in a club road race outside Belfast.
The Foundation has been established by McCall's club Marland Wheelers in conjunction with Cycling Ulster and the McCall family. Money raised will be used to support cycling in Ulster as a tribute to the contribution made to cycling by McCall during his life.
A native of Lisburn in County Antrim, McCall was a character in the sport of cycling. He represented Ireland at internationally on numerous occasions between 1985 and 1990 and competed in the Commonwealth Games on three occasions for Northern Ireland -1986,1990 and 1998.
Over a period of 18 years he amassed 32 Irish and Ulster championship medals at road disciplines and held a top category elite licence for 22 consecutive years until he joined the veterans' ranks in 2002. Ironically, he was killed whist preparing for the All Ireland Veterans RR Championship which took place just a few weeks ago. When he retired from international competition, he continued to work on behalf of the sport. As secretary of Cycling Ulster and a long time member, he worked toward the unification of the sport in Ireland and also served as a commissaire and top level coach.
In recent years he established the Sportactive company, which organises cycling and training holidays in Majorca and France. Sean Kelly was a regular leader on many of these trips.
Former Deputy Mayor of Ballymena Clifford Davidson, now resident in Scotland, started the donations with a cheque for £500 and this was matched a few days later by Cycling Ireland. Local Derry based club Roe Valley CC have promised a further £350 and Cycling Ulster will meet this week to decide on their contribution. Maryland Wheelers intend to organise an annual Sportive to help the cause and will also organise an annual criterium in McCall's memory in his native Lisburn.
Donations may be sent to David McCall Cycling Foundation, C/O 5 Kenilworth Drive, Lisburn , Co Antrim, BT28 3UQ.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)