Joey Dunlop Benevolent Fund

Following Joey’s death Sammy Graham, Joey’s Mechanic, and Ballymoney Mayor, Councillor Bill Kennedy were joint administrators of the ‘Ballymoney’ Joey Dunlop Benevolent Fund. All monies donated to this fund were forwarded to Joey’s family. The fund closed on the 30th September 2000.

Joey Dunlop Fund

David Cretney M.H.K. and Peter Kneale were Trustees of the Joey Dunlop Fund which was set up in the Isle of Man at the same time as the Benevolent Fund in Ballymoney. This account was closed in January 2001 again with all funds forwarded to Joey’s family.

Joey Dunlop Injured Riders Fund Isle of Man Registered Charity 842

In 2001 the Joey Dunlop Injured Riders Fund was founded. The charity changed its name in 2003 to what is now the Joey Dunlop Foundation amid some slight confusion over a similar charity in Northern Ireland. To an extent many people were initially -and for a long time after - deterred from donating to JDF because of the not always popular view that JDF was a charity to benefit injured riders only.

A group of ardent Joey fans decided to ask Joey’s wife Linda for her consent to set up the charity initially to raise enough funds to allow for the provision of a lift to be installed at the TT Grandstand to enable anyone with a disability to more easily view the races. Having raised funds for this purpose the lift was soon installed and as it turned out the Manx Government after discussions with JDF agreed to pay for the new facility and the lift was opened in September 2001 by 9 times F2 Sidecar Winner the late Dave Saville.

It was during the initial conversations between Linda and Honda’s Bob McMillan that it became clear that Joey would have liked to have helped toward the establishment of an amenity that would be of benefit to people but, especially children with a disability. A decision was then made to raise funds in his memory to provide a lasting memorial involving much needed holiday accommodation for the physically challenged and their families when visiting the Isle of Man.

The trustees commenced the arduous task of raising the necessary funds to provide such facilities with a view to location in Douglas to include holiday accommodation for any person with disability. The accommodation is now available for use by anyone with a disability. It also caters for people with special needs and true to Joey, Linda Dunlop has always pointed out that Joey’s priority would have been for facilities capable of being used by families with children requiring special needs. Everyone involved recognised that the Island severely lacks accessible accommodation especially self-catering family sized accommodation.

As has been stated many times, Joey Dunlop was and currently remains the most successful rider in the history of the TT. He is likely to remain so well into the foreseeable future. Honoured with an MBE and an OBE; it was not only in recognition of his 26 TT victories and five Formula One world titles, but also his personal charity work with under-privileged children. With the latter at the forefront of the thinking of JDF, the trustees strived to provide a facility that would be of lasting benefit to the Manx community and also be a fitting reminder of the achievements of the person affectionately known as ‘Yer Maun’ Joey Dunlop.

A Problematic Start

Aside from a sizeable contribution from Arai Helmets, the bulk of the cash has been raised by dedicated Foundation committee members and supporters who have voluntarily devoted many many hours over many years, especially during the summer months. Linda Dunlop has also driven the efforts and contributions from Northern Ireland particularly around events held in Ballymoney and involving the NW200. One of the suites is to be known as ‘Arai’.

An initial promise of land from the Manx Government was made in 2001 at a time when the objective of the charity was to raise £300,000 to cover the cost of building works. As it turned out, 2001 emerged as a huge disappointment for JDF due to the disastrous foot and mouth crisis which caused the cancellation of that year’s TT Races. Unsurprisingly, fundraising was severely affected as a proposed Joey Dunlop Tribute lap of the TT course also did not take place as planned, meaning that JDF could not capitalise fully from it. In addition many other summer events were also called off again due to foot and mouth disease.

Communications were conducted between JDF and various other local charities of a similar nature including Crossroads for Carers, the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, the Manx Foundation for the Physically Disabled, Project 21, Red Cross and Sailing for the Disabled with a view to reaching out to more supporters for JDF and publicising the JDF aim and which would at the same time benefit these other charities.

A move to Victoria Road

In 2003 JDF was in a position to start progressing with initial enquiries to start building works. By that time the fundraising had produced well over £200,000. The land that was to be the site of the proposed house; consisting of six rooms with communal kitchen, dining and living areas, was very close to the TT Grandstand but unexpectedly when JDF was ready to move forward with the development it was made apparent that the ground was not going to be made available. The Foundation was left with little option but to look elsewhere for land on which to build.

This led to JDF purchasing a vacant property located on Victoria Road Douglas adjacent to the old prison. This new venture caused a major setback as the charity had to spend over £200,000 of its funds raisedl to purchase the plot and then demolish the existing building thereby almost clearing out the bank account. Further fundraising had to be undertaken spurred on with the addition of new committee members who resumed from where the original committee members had moved on and were no longer directly involved with JDF. Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle and future Trustee Bruce Baker were on hand to launch the new tombola bike which was sourced through John Harris and was one of the first Race Replica Motorcycles in the form of Joey’s Honda SP1 on which he won the Formula 1 TT in 2000.

Planning & Construction Setbacks

The property on Victoria Road was demolished in 2006 at a cost of £10,000 but by this time the Foundation had progressed with its fundraising pushing the bank balance back over £200,000 once more. JDF’s architect at the time was Glenn Kinrade who spent many hours drafting up plans for the new development to fit the layout of the land.

Many planning issues had to be overcome which seemed to take an eternity. The Foundation’s first application was refused due to lack of parking for the proposed number of rooms to be provided.

The end result of Glenn’s efforts was an impressive building of three storey’s providing two extra car parking bays on the ground floor of the building. The cost of construction was calculated at over £700,000 and even with the various grants potentially available JDF was contemplating shortfall on the build costs of £250-£300,000.

Delays in planning approval, a number of broken promises and competition from other high profile charities were just a few of the issues that the dedicated committee faced over the years. However, they remained determined that they would achieve the objective of providing family sized disabled access accommodation.

Luxury Lodges

With such a large shortfall in funds and the need to show some material progress to the many supporters and public by now becoming impatient for some progress, the Foundation spent the winter months of 2006 struggling to obtain a revised planning approval for the installation of three luxury, fully furnished pine lodges be constructed on the Victoria Road site. There were sufficient funds for two units and with various grants available, acquiring a third unit would have been achievable. After discussion it was agreed that JDF should look into securing the luxury individual lodges. The resolve proved academic as the planning department ruled against allowing single storey accommodation on the site as not in keeping with the surrounding area. The Foundation approached the lodge manufacturers to see if they could construct two lodges side by side and develop a third on a first floor. Unfortunately this was again refused planning consent.

2007 Centenary TT

Traditionally fund raising had been seasonal; however during 2007 JDF committee decided to pursue year round fund raising in order to raise the JDF profile and in fact held three dinners that year. The Foundation ran the annual tombola and during the TT festival provided a café service at the TT Grandstand, they also managed the Joey Dunlop Exhibition at The Villa Marina in Douglas. The Foundation is indebted to Linda Dunlop for allowing the huge collection of Joey’s trophies, leathers, helmets and motorcycles to be transported over to the Isle of Man for that Centenary TT. The Foundation was also appreciative of the IOM Government for allowing the use of The Villa Marina as a venue for the exhibition, the Villa staff were very accommodating and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company helped immensely with the ferry costs which involved travelling over to collect, bring back and then return all the priceless items after the event. The exhibition had over 1,600 people through the door and raised over £8,000.

Braddan Bridge House

During 2008 the Foundation was aware of a potential brand new development that could be the perfect answer to JDF’s frustrated fund raising and planning efforts. A property situated on the outskirts of Douglas, then Government owned, but large enough to meet the JDF’s requirements and with the additional benefit of overlooking the TT course at Braddan Bridge became available for purchase. Negotiations with the Isle of Man Government resulted in the Joey Dunlop Foundation selling the Victoria Road site to one Government Department while simultaneously purchasing Braddan Bridge House from another.

JDF received the keys to the property just prior to the 2009 TT Races and quickly submitted a planning application which was approved toward the end of the year. The residential house has been converted into three individual self catering apartments consisting of one single bedroom unit, a double bedroom unit and a large 3 bedroom unit on the first floor of the building. The front elevation has a large balcony which provides means of escape in the event of fire but also conveniently allows for a perfect viewing area for residents (and guests if there is room!) to watch the TT Races. The adjacent garage will house laundry facilities as well as a Reception and Storeroom for the Foundation.

In 2016 the Foundation added a further two apartments at a cost of £250,000 with new office and laundry facilities situated at the rear of the property. The complex now has four two-bedroom apartments and one one-bedroom apartment. The two apartments on the first floor can be interlinked for larger groups. There is specialist equipment available within the apartments such as profiling, height adjustable beds with memory foam mattress, air mattresses, two Geberit automatic toilets, mobile hoists, recliner Riser chairs, height adjustable beds, choice of shower commode chairs, walking aids, easy use tipping kettles and height adjustable sink units. The Foundation continue to raise funds to ensure that the apartments are maintained and updated with more aids to assist disabled guests.

Thanks to all the JDF’s loyal supporters JDF now has a tangible asset valued at around a million pounds but with little revenue left to cover the anticipated running costs The conversion costs have used most, of the banked capital so fundraising is and will remain the cornerstone of activities of JDF to ensure that the disabled accessible accommodation is not only fitted out to exacting high standards, but remains available to meet the needs of disabled visitors to the Island as would only be befitting to commemorate the memory of the legend that is ‘Joey Dunlop’
If you would like further information about either JDF or future JDF fund raising activities, or would like to organise an event or perhaps simply wish to make a donation please visit the Joey Dunlop Foundation website at ww.joeydunlopfoundation.com or alternatively email: bakeriom@manx.net
Thank you for your interest and supporting us.