Eric is a community hero

Dundalk man Eric Beggs has been declared a community hero for his fundraising efforts over the last fifteen years for the Fighting Blindness charity. Eric appeared on the Late Late Show on Friday evening having been chosen as one of AXA’s Community Heroes and the Lisdoo man was given €20,000 for his beloved charity Fighting Blindness and €5,000 for himself.

Kevin Whelan, CEO of Fighting Blindness said, “Eric Beggs is an outstanding volunteer and an inspiration. We nominated him as an AXA Community Hero as we believe it is the perfect way to celebrate his illustrious fundraising career and thank him for his hard work and dedication. He is a deserving winner to say the very least. The money he has raised over the years has helped us to continue our mission to find a cure for blindness.”

Eric has organised various charity events such as Chapel gate collections, quizzes and sponsored walks with the Cooley Trek being the main source of fundraising each year. He was diagnosed with a retinal degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) which unfortunately can’t be cured. Eric first started having difficulties with his sight in his early 20s and it has progressed to the stage that now in his sixties he is completely blind. He has been a keen supporter of the charity ‘Fighting Blindness’ and is a huge admirer of the work they do around the country.

“It was a grand surprise to get that award. It was very exciting and fantastic for the charity,” said Eric.
AXA launched the competition last July and asked people across the country to nominate their local hero.
Fighting Blindness nominated Eric for his dedication to the charity including raising €160,000 for the charity over 15 years through various fundraising activities.

Over the years, he has completed treks, tandem cycles, Easter egg hunts, church gate collections and more to raise money.
“As I said on the Late Late Show, Louth might be the smallest county in Ireland but the people are the most generous with their time and their money,” said Eric.
“Ryan Tubridy was a nice chap. I thought I would be more nervous but I wasn’t, maybe because there was a small number of people there.
“Fair play to Axa. I take my hat off to them. They did a fantastic job and I’d like to thank my wife, Ann. I’d be lost without her. She’s been a great help to me and other people in the family too. And I’d also like to give a special mention to Colin Moran who has done Trojan work for Fighting Blindness.”
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