When there’s a challenge, then Fermanagh people are ready to show their support and prepared to dip their hand into their pockets to help charities.

Many people might have their own chosen charities through work, their church or their sports club but there is very much a sense of community when we witness some of the bigger charity events going on in the county.

Last Saturday was a prime example as the Enniskillen 10K and Leisure Walk took place from the Lakeland Forum. Now established as a great annual event, it attracts up to 1,000 runners and walkers, many of them challenging themselves to a great sense of achievement and pushing themselves towards personal goals.

However for many, there is a greater satisfaction for their fundraising efforts as many runners and walkers obtain sponsorship for a chosen charity and through their efforts raise thousands of pounds.

It is this sense of community spirit in addition to the sporting element of attracting elite runners, that helps to drive forward the Enniskillen 10K and many other similar events around the county each year.

Of course if you want a greater challenge than running 10K, you could try walking on hot coals. That’s what a group of enthusiasts did last Saturday at Enniskillen Rugby Club as a major fundraiser for Parkinson’s Support Fermanagh. The firewalking spectacular attracted large crowds who just by their presence, additionally supported the charity.

The personal stories behind many of the challenges are really touching and help to attract sponsorship.

But perhaps one person who has been instrumental in being personally involved in fundraising for over half a century and accumulating hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in the process is Ivan Kee, a retired businessman in Enniskillen who has just been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for “services to fundraising.” He has been involved in many fundraising ideas for his wide variety of interests but he remembers the first, at the age of 19, when he organised a social in his home village of Trillick when the admission price was half a crown to a more recent event in Castle Coole when the ticket price for £200 for a couple. Between coffee mornings and guest teas, sponsored walks and concerts, he has made fundraising an enjoyable experience for all those taking part or supporting the many events.