A Fond Memory of Tom Cavanagh
By Frank Greally- Athletics Ireland- The Daily Mile
News of the passing of Tom Cavanagh from Fermoy – on the day when Athletics Ireland launched the annual Remembrance Run 5K, prompted a fond memory of a morning four years ago when I sat with Tom in his home drinking tea and talking about athletics – a sport he was passionate about.
I was visiting Tom to chat about The Daily Mile, which Athletics Ireland had just started to promote to Primary Schools all over Ireland and I was hoping that he would see this initiative worthy of support from Tomar Trust, the philanthropic trust set up by Tom to contribute to strengthening Irish society.
It turned out that we had a mutual friend in the late Fanahan McSweeney, the Olympic 400m athlete whose book Living and Loving With Cancer I had published. Tom and I shared some fond memories of Fanahan that morning and we also talked a lot about athletics and the potential for The Daily Mile.
Tom Cavanagh had a big heart and he was a man of great generosity and kindness.. The Mission Statement of Tomar Trust tells us a lot about Tom and the legacy that Tomar Trust continues to deliver. I will quote some lines here from the Trust’s Mission Statement:
Our intent is to invest in people, ideas and effective organisations who, through their work, serve to strengthen society.
The big issues that will fundamentally affect our society and shape our future are the effects of climate on how we live and the international and national response to the refugee humanitarian crisis and the impact of that on society.
None of these issues are too big to make a difference . All can be brought back to the local and all have implications for the people of Munster, Ireland and the wider world. The solution and responses will be local.
The quality of our response to these issues will be shaped by the quality of our debate, the strength of our communities, our sense of identity and our empathy. These in turn will be shaped by the quality of our media, our education, and the levels of inequality and inclusiveness in society.
From 2017- 2026, we will encourage:
The development of a sustainable, resilient society, supporting community initiatives that address local sustainability and build social capital.
The development of a socially cohesive society, supporting the integration of refugees and ethnic minorities.
Investment in our children, That they get the best start in life, and grow up healthy , connected to community and contributing to society.
That was the vision of a truly unique Cork man who was willing to share his wealth for the betterment of society. Tom Cavanagh has left a lasting legacy and his generosity in supporting Athletics Ireland with The Daily Mile initiative has already resulted in well over one thousand Primary Schools all over Ireland adopting The Daily Mile – 15 minutes of Walking or Running – to be part of the school day.
We will remember Tom Cavanagh in a special way at the Remembrance Run 5K in the Phoenix Park on Sunday, November 13th. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.