A CHARITY set up in honour of Ballymoney bike legend Joey Dunlop is appealing for help in expanding its service.
Established initially to raise funds for improved disabled viewing access in the Isle of Man TT grandstand, the Joey Dunlop Foundation soon recognised a wider need for wheelchair-friendly accommodation near the 37-mile circuit.
Five times world champion and 26 times TT winner Joey, 48, lost his life during a 125cc race in Estonia 12 years ago.
Even at the height of his success he devoted an extraordinary amount of time and energy to charity work and was awarded both the MBE and OBE for his selfless contribution.
Following his death, the closely-knit road racing fraternity came together like never before and eventually enough money was raised to purchase a property on the famous TT course ‘Yer Man’ made his own.
With the backing of Joey’s widow Linda and Bob McMillan from Honda, the Joey Dunlop Foundation (JDF) was able to adapt Braddan Bridge House for the use of race fans – particularly children – with a disability.
The two-storey holiday home has been divided into three apartments complete with a viewing balcony and state-of-the-art disabled facilities.
Carers as well as family and friends of the guests are welcome and demand has increased greatly over the last few years – leading the JDF to consider expanding the property which is open 10 months of the year.
As Kevin Quirk of the JDF explained, the facility has a long waiting list of potential guests who are either disabled or life-limited.
“This year we had one gentleman who was terminally ill but wanted to fulfil his lifelong ambition of coming to see the Isle of Man TT,” he said.
“Our waiting list, particularly over the summer months, is up to three years. Unfortunately some of those wishing to come don’t have two or three years so that’s why we want to create more apartments.”
The JDF is operating a range of initiatives including a tombola with the chance to win John McGuinness’ Fireblade bike. Tickets cost £1 each and are available from the JDF office on 01624 677741 (Monday to Friday 9am-2pm) or by visiting the website www.joeydunlopfoundation.com.