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Armagh nurse cycles length of Ireland to remember ‘great friend’ Keith

'I was glad to be finished but then remembering why I was doing it was very grounding'

Conor Hamilton with brother David, dad Damien and Keith's sisters Patricia and Louise

An Armagh man who completed a charity cycle in memory of his friend said he was with him in spirit during difficult sections of the route.

Conor Hamilton has just returned from cycling the length of Ireland, from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork, in memory of  Keith Kelly.

Keith died suddenly last April at Navan Quarry and Conor, who had known him since they were childhood friends, said the cycle was a way of keeping his memory alive.

It was an emotional send-off as Keith had been photographed in the same spot just months before his death, and it was seeing this photo that gave Conor the idea for the challenge.

The cycle, which covered almost 380 miles and took four days, has raised more than £4,000 to date for mental health charity Against Suicide, and homeless charities Depaul & Shelter NI.

Keith was passionate about caring for the homeless and worked with the homeless in Armagh prior to his death.

Keith Kelly

Conor, a nurse who now works as a lecturer in nursing at Queen’s University Belfast, was accompanied on his solo cycle by his brother David and father Damien, who travelled alongside him in a van.

He described finishing the cycle as “a bittersweet moment”.

“I was glad to be finished but then remembering why I was doing it was very grounding. I had Keith with me during many difficult sections of road,” he said.

The Kelly family has thanked Conor and his family and all those who donated so generously.

“We have been amazed at the amount raised,” they said. “None of this would have been possible if not for Conor. Truly an act of pure friendship and love.”

This was the latest fundraising initiative in memory of Keith.

Last July, his nephew Jamie Kelly and girlfriend Emma White completed the Lisburn half marathon, raising more than £4,000 for charity PIPS (Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm).

The JustGiving page will remain open until Friday for those who wish to donate.

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