In what might be the most surreal charity challenge dreamed up yet, a Kildress man plans to hit the road with a 280 kilo cooker as his trusty travelling companion.
Des Keenan, who is approaching 70-years-old, will be hoping that the more illogical the enterprise, the greater the charitable response.
Over four days he will haul his solid metal beast of a cooker over 40 miles and through some twenty towns in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for Action MS and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
Des, who owns Kildress Plumbing Supplies, is not the first man to haul a large kitchen appliance around a part of Ireland.
In 1999 British stand-up comedian Tony Hawkes resolved to hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland with a fridge as part of a hundred pound bet.
Hawkes’ remarkable adventure inspired a book and a film, as well as elevating his fridge to celebrity status around Ireland.
Des has no plans yet to sign up his cooker for a film career. He said he will donate the appliance to his charities if anyone is willing to buy it after the tour, which includes Derry, Coleraine, Ballycastle, Lisburn and Newry.
He has already conceded that his biggest challenge will be Dungannon town with its steep hills. The brave pair will be battling through the town on June 13 as part of a breathtaking finale to the tour.
“Dungannon will be a tough one, there’s no doubt about that. I’ll be coming into the town past the hospital and along Thomas Street, but I’ll have to employ a couple of good men to act as brakes when we go down the other end of the town.
“I’ll be finishing the challenge the next day in Cookstown, which will be a much easier home-run.”
Having been involved in fund-raising for the past 15 years Des said he wanted to do something different.
He said, “I wanted this event to stand out. I’ve sold cookers at my business Kildress Plumbing Supplies for 35 years so I thought ‘hey, why not push one around instead’.
“Waterford Stanley designed and built me my own custom cooker for this challenge. It is on a three wheeled trolley so that it is easier to push around.
“They joked that I should carry it instead but they settled for me pushing it,” he laughed. Explaining his connection to his chosen charities, Des said “I’ve been involved with Action MS for 10-15 years and some of my close friends are affected by the condition.”
Anyone who would like to aid Des in reaching his goal can donate online by going to www.justgiving.com/Des-Keenan. And you can follow his journey on Facebook at ‘Des Keenan Cooker Push’ or log on Twitter @DesKeenan.