Christmas get-together with the Friends of St. Ita’s

A group of fundraisers and musicians attending the Christmas party with the Friends of St. Ita’s committee.

On Friday night last, the Friends of St. Ita’s held their annual Christmas get-together which saw a great turnout, with 45/50 fundraisers and members of the Friends coming together to enjoy a very pleasant, informal and most enjoyable evening. As ever, the night was a huge success and will go down as yet another very memorable occasion, said Chairman Fergus Scanlan, who went on to explain that “these functions form a very important part of our fundraising campaign from different aspects in that, firstly , and most importantly, they are our way of expressing our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the very many wonderful people who come together as groups or indeed, as individuals to organise and run fundraising events on our behalf”.
“Indeed, I would hasten to add it is that kind of commitment, dedication and enthusiasm which, over the years has been the lifeblood of our unparalleled success which, happily, we continue to enjoy. Secondly, these occasions provide us with the opportunity of bringing people up to date with current fundraising projects and activities underway, and others that are in the pipeline. Likewise, they give management an opportunity to express their thanks to the Friends, the fundraisers and to the people of West Limerick for their ongoing very generous support which continues to underpin the success of the Friends, and on this occasion the task was very ably and eloquently performed by Geraldine Aspinell, Acting Asst. Director of Nursing on behalf of Helen Galvin, Director of Nursing, St. Ita’s Hospital who could not be with us due to other prior commitments.
“And so overall, we see these occasions as a very worthwhile means of further enhancing and cementing the already excellent relationship which exists between ourselves and the wonderful people of this great community,” he said.
As is customary when issuing our Christmas press release, we use the opportunity to give details of the various fundraisers that have taken place during the year. And, indeed, in this regard another highlight of the evening was the presentation of a number of cheques from recent fundraisers. And so for the year 2018, starting in May, Richard Collins of Newcastle West Zip Yard Business and his staff (Ciara and Geraldine) organised a fundraiser to donate half of all takings for alterations on a nominated day to the Friends. In conjunction with this, the Friends ran a flag day in NCW and Abbeyfeale, and the joint venture raised almost €5,000. The Friends say a very big thank you to Richard and his staff and to all the other wonderful people who helped out with the flag day collection.
In June, Maureen Kennelly and her great home-bake team organised a Bake Day Cake Sale and raised €2,000 for the Friends’ Alzheimer Fund. Maureen, and indeed her husband Dave and their team, have done trojan work over the years and have raised over €13,000 for the Friends, for which we thank them most sincerely.
In July, Hayden Gilbert, Occupational Therapist in St. Iita’s Day Hospital, did a sale of honey for the Friends which raised €250, for which we say a big thank you to Hayden who is always so very ready to help out in whatever way he can.
In September, we had our hugely successful golf classic which raised a staggering €35,000 which qualified us to send two teams forward to the JP. McManus Pro-Am Grand Qualifier, to be held in Adare in May 2020. This has already been covered at length in our press release in the Weekly Observer on 10th October, and so suffice at this time to say, once again, a very, very big thank you to all involved in helping us achieve such outstanding success, with particular thanks to Doyle Shipping Group, our main sponsor who kicked off the classic with a hugely generous cheque. Also we say, again, a very special thank you to John Devine, Manager, NCW Golf Club for his outstanding help throughout, and to our great golf sub-committee, without whose enormous help and expertise we could not have managed. We also say a huge thank you to Margaret Barry, Richard Collins, Tommy Devine and in particular Derek Heverin, the anchor man who saw that every box was ticked and every base covered from beginning to end.
Moving to October, Wyeth Nutritional Irl. gave us a very generous donation of €1,000 from their Christmas Fund, for which we say a very grateful thanks, and indeed for all their support over the years, with one very memorable occasion being back in 2005 when their Cycle Club did a sponsored cycle which raised €45,000 for the Friends. In November, we received a very generous donation of €632 from Pat McLoughlin from the sale of his book ‘To Weave With Words’ as a fundraiser for the Friends and for which we say a big thank you to Pat. Also in November we received another very generous cheque for €750 from St, Kieran’s Heritage Association in Ardagh as a donation from their Ardagh Chalice Festival (celebrating the 150th anniversary of the finding of the Ardagh Chalice) and again a very big thank you to St. Kieran’s for their generosity.
In December, Wings Golf Society, Newmarket-On-Fergus, Co. Clare donated a very generous €750 to the Friends, one of a number of charities to receive donations, and we say a very grateful thank you, and in that we also include John Devine, Manager, NCW Golf Club, who was involved in this fundraiser with Wings and nominated the Friends for the donation, together with West Limerick Children’s Services who received a similar donation. Finally, and also in December we received a very generous donation of €400 from the Dromcollogher Bridge Club Charity Night and for that we are most grateful and, indeed, for their ongoing very generous support over many years. The Friends also would like to say a very, very special thank you to Chef Eddie O’Connell and his wonderful kitchen staff, Bridget Copse and Ann O’Connor, for the beautiful food served on the night and for the very professional and courteous manner in which they looked after all the guests – as always, they did St, Ita’s proud! Also our very grateful thanks to the staff in reception and in administration for all their help and support to us over the year, and a very special word of praise and thanks to management and staff for the truly brilliant service and care they provide for the residents here in St. Ita’s under the very able and competent stewardship of Helen Galvin, Director of Nursing.
Finally, and as ever, our sincere thanks to all the staff at the Weekly Observer for their wonderful help and support throughout the year, through publicity and coverage of our various fundraising ventures which plays a hugely important part in the success of our fundraising activities.
In conclusion, the Friends would like to express once again our very grateful thanks and appreciation to all our wonderful supporters for your tremendous generosity, help and support throughout 2018 and, indeed, from the very start of our fundraising campaign over 15 years ago, and over that period we have raised over 3.65 million. May we take this opportunity to wish one and all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year, le cunamh De.