Friends of Southern Area Hospice raise £500k

Deirdre Breen with a friend at the a fundraising event for the Southern Area Hospice Services
Deirdre Breen with a friend at the a fundraising event for the Southern Area Hospice Services

Friends of the Southern Area Hospice have reached their 15th birthday with the milestone news that they have raised half a million pounds for the charity.

The group started 15 years ago when Ann Dalzell’s mother Dorothy Donaldson passed away at the Hospice in Newry. Ann and her friend Deirdre Breen set up the charity to raise funds.

Members of the Southern Area Hospice  fundraising team meet former President of Ireland Mary McAleese

Members of the Southern Area Hospice fundraising team meet former President of Ireland Mary McAleese

Deirdre told the MAIL: “Over the years we have lost three of our committee members to cancer - Nora McCluskey, Pat Lavery and Eilish Hamill.

“We have a small committee and new members are welcome to join us,” she said.

Currently the committee members include Anne Dalzell, Ann Nugent, Derdre Breen, Fionnuala Fox, Josie Quinn,Mary Lynch, Mary Rogers and Maureen Walsh.

“Over the past 15 years we have raised money from coffee mornings, craft fairs, car boot sales, sponsored walks, musical evenings, poetry evenings,table quiz.”

Coffee morning in aid of the Southern Area Hospice Services

Coffee morning in aid of the Southern Area Hospice Services

There was even an evening with the mentalist David Meade.

Every year Barry Shanks, Kevin McAlinden and Martin McStay organise an annual Aghagallon Santa Fun Run and this year we celebrate the tenth Santa Run which takes place on Sunday, December 6.

“This is a great event with runners and families with prams taking part. A great community event with Big Pat singing and food from all the local ladies,” Deirdre explained.

Tony McKeown and David Wilson raised £4,969 at a sponsored run at Lurgan Park on March 1 this year and have again organised the run for next year on February 26.

Some of the team who help to raise funds for the Southern Area Hospice Service

Some of the team who help to raise funds for the Southern Area Hospice Service

Over the past 15 years they have organised and been invited to many events.

“We were delighted to receive an invitation to Áras an Uachtaráin and met Mary McAleese,” said Deirdre.

Every year Geoff Morrow from Fa Joes donates half of proceeds from the annual JoeFest and recently presented the charity with £1,500.

“In October we held a book sale and made £808 and on 7th October we hosted a musical evening in memory of Eilish Hamill and raised £3,000 which helped us reach a target of half a million,” said Deirdre.

A Friends Support Group raise money in aid of the Southern Area Hospice

A Friends Support Group raise money in aid of the Southern Area Hospice

“We would like to thank everyone who helped us reach our target and hope we can rely on your support to helo us reach our next target of one million.