The true spirit of 'meitheal' support in Mayo has brought together musicians from the Charlestown community as they launched a CD to raise funds to help neighbour Rob McNichol regain his sight.
Fifty-seven-year-old Mr. McNichol was tragically blinded in an explosion in 2005. He had his sight restored in a ground-breaking operation in the UK's Sussex Eye Hospital, when his son's tooth was inserted in his eye. Despite the success of the operation, Rob was totally devastated earlier last year when his sight went again.
Following consultations with his ophthalmic surgeon, Mr. Christopher Liu, there appears to be a glimmer of light for Rob. Following tests, Rob has proved to be an ideal candidate for an innovative new procedure whereby a bone is taken from his shin, then machined and then – with a lens inserted – implanted in the eye.
Rob's expert ophthalmic team are confident it is his best chance of ever being able to see his wife and children again.
The CD launch was organised to ensure his family will be there for him during the surgery procedures.
Local musicians Tom and Matt Doyle and Martin Gaughan recorded the CD, spanning Irish folk to blues, at Tom's recording studio in Charlestown and were joined by Rob himself, who – despite his blindness – was tutored on the guitar by Martin Gaughan.
Tom, Matt and Martin were delighted to aid and assist Rob and his family.
They said it was the very least they could do, to let the 'gift of music' help give their neighbour and friend back the 'gift of sight'.
The CD launch was performed by Councillor Gerry Murray and took place in Charlestown Arts Centre on Friday, February 4. Everyone from the Charlestown/Bellaghy community and beyond was invited.
The CD will be available for purchase at various business outlets in Mayo and Sligo and was also be for sale on the night.
Donations can be made to AIB Swinford (account name Rob McNichol Eye Surgery, account number 031 28 008, sort code 93-72-66).