Former RTÉ news reporter Charlie Bird received an emotional welcome today from the 340 pupils at Scoil Phádraig Westport during a visit in advance of his ‘Climb With Charlie’ fundraiser on Croagh Patrick on 2nd April.

The principal, staff and pupils invited the broadcaster to walk the Daily Mile with them  at the school having heard about his efforts to raise money for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta following his terminal diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.

Charlie’s story inspired teacher Nicole Gannon, who delivered the foot prints to Charlie when she performed on the Late Late show,  and her sixth class pupils to write and sing a special song for Charlie to the tune of ’500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers.

Sharon McGreal, a teacher at the school had the idea of reaching out to Charlie in advance of his Climb on Croagh Patrick. She said  As a school close to Croagh Patrick we decided to walk the daily mile around our school every day until Charlie comes to the reek in April. We are walking with him in spirit and we are privileged to have him walk with us today.’’

Charlie thanked the students and staff today and encouraged everyone to log on to and donate what they can or set up their own fundraisers to climb mountain in their local area.

Charlie is also visiting the students and staff at the Quay NS in Westport today and Murrisk NS at the foot of the reek.