Top volunteer is crowned an AXA Community Hero

Eric holding a giant cheque for €20000

Eric Beggs – one of our star fundraisers – has been crowned an AXA Community Hero. Eric, who is from Dundalk, has won €20,000 for our charity and €5,000 for himself!

The five AXA Community Heroes winners were announced live by Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show on Friday 29 January.

AXA launched the competition last July and asked people across the country to nominate their local hero. They wanted to celebrate the unsung heroes that go above and beyond to help others and their communities all over Ireland.

We nominated Eric for his outstanding dedication to Fighting Blindness. He has supported our work for over 15 years and has raised nearly €160,000 through fundraising activities.

Eric was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in his forties and has no eyesight left as a result. His friend Peter, who is sadly now deceased, introduced Eric to Fighting Blindness and fundraising. Since then, he has completed treks, tandem cycles, Easter egg hunts, church gate collections and more to raise money.

Thrilled by both the nomination and win, Eric said: “I’m delighted to have won, it’s hard to believe. I had to cancel all my fundraising plans last year so it’s really fantastic to be able to give Fighting Blindness a cheque for €20,000. It’s a tough time for Irish charities and they’re doing important work.

“I’m so grateful to all my family and friends who have helped me fundraise over the years – I couldn’t have done any of it without them. Every time I asked something of them, they did it for me. It’s a brilliant community we have here. This is as much their prize as it is mine.”

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.”

In 2019 Eric was also named one of Ireland’s top volunteers when he won the top prize in the Health & Disability category at the Volunteer Ireland Awards.

If you would like to continue Eric’s good work, you can donate online.