Louise Walsh

A Garda appeal to help a cocooner left stranded when his only form of transport broke down has been answered by a generous bike mechanic.

Gardaí put out an appeal for help when Jimmy Mordaunt largely lost his independence as his old bike grew beyond repair.

The 81-year-old, who has spent the rolling lockdowns on his own in his mobile home in Bettystown, Co Meath, relied on his bicycle as a form of exercise and to get in and out to the shops.


When community Garda Barbara Kelly at Ashbourne Garda Station heard of his transport problem, she immediately put the word out for some help.

Up stepped popular bike mechanic Pat Donnelly, who offered Mr Mordaunt a reconditioned model free of charge last weekend.

“We’ve (gardaí) been calling out to Jimmy since the first lockdown last March for chats and to bring him groceries and anything else he needs,” said Garda Kelly.

His eyes just lit up at the thought that someone else was doing this for him

“His two daughters live in England so he is on his own but fiercely independent and doesn’t like asking us to do anything that he can do himself.

“He uses his bike all the time, out for exercise and in and out of the shop, but he mentioned to me and my colleague Sgt Alan Keane last week that his bike was broken.

“We have been working closely with the Ashbourne Lions Club since Covid-19 hit and they are such a great group of people who do so much good work in the community.

“Through them, I got a call from Pat Donnelly who is well known in Ashbourne as a bike mechanic and also as a man who is always helping others.

“He gifted us the bike for Jimmy free of charge and Jimmy was only delighted. His eyes just lit up at the thought that someone else was doing this for him.”

'People are so good': Stranded 81-year-old gets new bike thanks to Garda appeal

Garda Barbara Kelly presenting the bike to Jimmy at his home in Bettystown.

Mr Mordaunt, who has lived in Bettystown for the last 14 years, expressed his thanks to everyone.

“I can’t wait to get out on the bike again.  I love being out and about on it.  This one has 24 gears unlike the four that was on my old bike.

“Sure when I’m allowed to, I’ll be cycling to Drogheda to use all the gears,” he laughed.

“People are just so good.  There are plenty out there worse off than me but I’m taken aback that the gardaí thought to do this and that Pat was kind enough to give me this bike.  I’m hugely grateful.”

Mr Mordaunt added that he is looking forward to getting the vaccine and being able, in time, to get around without fear.

“My two daughters are working in hospitals in England and one of them has received the first shot of the vaccine. She said her arm was a bit sore for a few days.

“But how bad. A sore arm will be well and truly worth it. I’ll be the first man to take the coat off for the vaccine when I’m offered it.”

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