Friends host a Double Night of celebrations at St. Ita’s

Fergus Scanlan, Chairman of Friends of St. Ita’s Hospital, being presented with a cheque by Phil Harnett, President of Dromcollogher Bridge Club. Also in the photo are Geraldine Aspinall Asst. Director of Nursing at St. Ita’s Hospital and Josephine Madden, bridge club committee member. – Photo Eddie Guiry. – friends of St. Ita’s

Due to the outstanding success of 2019 for the Friends of St. Ita’s, which saw numerous events involving many groups, clubs and organisations taking place over the year, the Friends’ annual ‘thank you’ get-together at St. Ita’s had to be run over two nights to accommodate the large numbers involved in the running of these events.
And so the annual Christmas get-together, originally planned to take place in early December, but because of an outbreak of flu in St. Ita’s, had to be postponed until 14th and 15th January and for that we wish to apologise to one and all. As ever, the celebrations, which took place in a very pleasant, relaxed and informal atmosphere,, proved to be a great success but, it has to be said, very much overshadowed by the very noticeable absence of the late great John Joe Nash who had been our guest-of-honour at so many of these functions in the past. John Joe, who had been a very staunch and loyal supporter of the Friends over many years, sadly passed on to his Heavenly reward on 2nd September last. Needless to say, he continues to be very sadly missed by the Friends and all here in St. Ita’s and, indeed, in the community. We covered John Joe’s long involvement with the Friends and his sad departure from this life at length in our last press release to The Weekly Observer on 30th October, relating to the John Joe Nash Memorial Walk which was held in John Joe’s memory on 22nd September, and so we say again – ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Coming back to our get-together which had 40/50 guests in attendance each night, it was very much enjoyed by one and all who were treated to a great selection of beautiful food served up by the very friendly and courteous staff who looked after everyone so well and so professionally, as, of course, they always do on these occasions. And afterwards the guests were able to sit back, relax and listen to an account of all the fundraising events which had taken place over the year, followed by an update on our many achievements secured on foot of the fundraising to date, and then concluding with a look to the future, our hopes, aspirations and plans to continue to improve the conditions, services and facilities for the residents at St. Ita’s which, because of the age of the building (19th century), is very much an ongoing challenge but, one which the Friends, with the help and support of this wonderful community, are ready, willing and able to take on and overcome, as indeed we have done so many times in the past! Both nights saw a number of cheque presentations, marking the close of this aspect of our fundraising for 2019 which raised the fantastic sum of over €60,000. The Friends are absolutely thrilled with the progress of our fundraising campaign and the success of 2019 is further evidence of that truly marvellous progress, said Chairman Fergus Scanlan who once again on behalf of the Friends of St. Ita’s and management and staff would like to express most grateful thanks and appreciation to all those wonderful groups, clubs and organisations and the very many other individuals who continue to support us so loyally and so steadfastly, maintaining the pheno-menal success which we have come to enjoy over the many years of our fundraising campaign, which is now in its 18th year with a total close on €3.8 million raised to-date. Indeed, as we have said so many times before, it is that generosity and that loyalty which is the very lifeblood of our success and for that we will always be greatly indebted to the people of this great community of West Limerick and beyond.
In our most recent Press release to the Observer on 30th October last we included details of our fundraising events for the year up to that point and in the meantime we had the following fundraisers bringing us up to the end of 2019 and for which the Friends and management and staff would, once again like to say a very big ‘thank you’ to each and everyone involved in the running of these events
October: Newcastle West GAA Club ran an afternoon tea and fashion show fundraiser (mentioned in our last press release but details of amount raised were not to hand at the time) and this event raised the very generous sum of €2,014. Also in October, the Friends were given a very generous donation of €500 from Newcastle West Flower Club from funds on hand following the winding up of the Flower Show committee.
November: Wyeth Nutritional Ireland in Askeaton gave a very generous donation of €1,000 from their Charity Christmas Fund. Hayden Gilbert, Occupational Therapist at St. Ita’s gave a very generous donation of €250 from his ‘beekeeping’ fundraiser. Also, Newcastle West Bridge Club gave a very generous donation of €350 from their charity night which raised €3,500 which was divided between 10 charities.
December: Wings Golfing Society, Newmarket-on-Fergus (Charity Section) gave a very generous donation of €750 to the Friends, having been nominated by John Devine, Manager of Newcastle West Golf Club who was involved in this fundraiser (this is our fourth year to receive such a donation, thanks to John). Dromcollogher Bridge Club gave a very generous donation of €200 from their Charity Night.
January, 2020: Ballyhahill Wrenboys gave a very generous donation of €400 from their Christmas 2019 Wrenboy fundraiser.
Once again, we say a very big ‘thank you’ to all the wonderful people involved in these fundraisers, and also all who supported them so generously, resulting in such a successful outcome each and every time. Once more The Friends would like to say a very many thank you to Chef Eddie O’Connell and his wonderful kitchen staff for the truly superb job they did on each of the two nights of our get-together. They are, indeed, a credit to St. Ita’s!
Likewise, we say a very, very special ‘thank you’ to the equally wonderful and ever-pleasant staff in Reception and in Admin for all their invaluable help and support throughout the year. And, indeed, we likewise say you to management and staff throughout the hospital for all their assistance and support, not just in 2019 but over all of the years since we started our fundraising campaign back in 2003.
As the Friends of St. Ita’s, we have been delighted to reciprocate in providing our help and support in every way possible and working together as one great team towards ensuring the delivery of the best possible service for the residents of this great hospital, which at the end of the day is, and always has been, our ultimate goal.
As always we conclude with a very grateful ‘thank you’ to the marvellous staff at The Weekly Observer for their ongoing wonderful support, for which we are greatly indebted and in that we very much include Pauline and Monica of our local Observer office here in Newcastle West who are always exceptionally helpful, as indeed is Eddie Guiry, Observer photographer.
Finally, the Friends would like to take this opportunity to wish all the residents and management and staff in St. Ita’s, and our very many loyal supporters and friendsm a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2020 and beyond, and God’s blessing on each and every one.