Real Irish welcome for charity walker Colm Farrell in Norwich

Members of the Irish Society of East Anglia welcome round Britain's counties walker Colm Farrell to

Members of the Irish Society of East Anglia welcome round Britain's counties walker Colm Farrell to Norwich.Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Charity walker Colm Farrell said he never knew there were so many Irish people in Norwich when he arrived in the city on his 5,000-mile trek across the UK for charity.

Mr Farrell received a real Irish welcome as he arrived at the Eagle pub in Newmarket Road yesterday afternoon.

Nearly a dozen members of the Irish Society of East Anglia welcomed him to our fine city and bought him a pint of lager to quench his first.

'Unusually for an Irishman I cannot drink Guinness because I have too much iron in my blood,' he said.

He had started off earlier in the day in Attleborough but his knees were playing up as he trundled up Newmarket Road towards the city centre.

Members of the Irish society walked along the road to meet him and when he arrived at the Eagle car park, there was a banner unfurled outside saying 'Welcome to Norwich' in Irish.

'I never knew there were so many Irish people in Norwich,' he said. 'It's like a home from home.'

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Among the society members raising a glass to the 46-year-old were Teresa Hales, from Hoveton, who went to school in Mr Farrell's home town of Tuam in County Galway.

She said: 'It's quite a coincidence. I met my husband Brian as a student nurse in Manchester and stayed in England. We wanted to welcome him to Norwich.'

Also welcoming him was Joe Winterlich, who now lives in Norwich, after marrying a girl from Sea Palling, but is originally from Tuam.

Mr Winterlich said: 'My brother Sean, who still lives in Tuam, knows Colm's family.'

Mr Farrell was also met by Sheila McDougall, who now lives in Norwich, but whose father was the last Protestant bishop of Tuam.

The welcoming committee also included Shivaun Barnes, from Eaton, who was born in Tralee, Mrs Hales' husband Brian, Marie Horvath, from Belfast, who now lives in the city centre, Catherine Bhadrinath, from Norwich, originally from Dublin, and Maurice Connery, from Norwich, but originally from the Limerick area.

Mr Farrell is walking through every county in Scotland, Wales and England in support of Console Counselling for suicide prevention.

He had upped sticks from the pub he ran in Tuam after being concerned about a worrying number of suicides in his home town. He started his mammoth walk to raise money and awareness of the problem in Wick, Scotland 11 months ago.

He is reliant on the network of followers and friends he has gained on social networking sites to spread the word and find him a bed for the night and was staying with Nicky Kerss in West Earlham last night.

He is due to walk to Pulham Market today.

He has set a target to raise £5,000 and has reached more than £3,300.

There are about 200 members of the Irish Society of East Anglia, which is based in Norwich. Their next charity event for the Stepping Stones charity is a golf day at 11.30am on May 10 at Dunston Hall.

Contact Catherine Bhadrinath on 01603 456800 or Teresa Hales on 01603 783932 for more information about the event.

To donate to Mr Farrell's charity visit or contact him via his Twitter handle @Haz66. Keep up to date with his trek via

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