Despite all the doom and gloom to which by now we have become so accustomed, the Friends of St. Ita’s happily continue to enjoy a huge level of support for their fund-raising campaign which saw them celebrate yet another very generous cheque presentation night last week. Chairman Fergus Scanlan stated that the occasion was marked by a very pleasant and most enjoyable get-together hosted by the Friends for the various groups and individuals involved in the different fundraisers since the last cheque presentation night in September and as reported on in the Weekly Observer at that time. Fergus went on to say, that both the Friends and management and staff are very pleased with the great loyalty, commitment and outstanding generosity of their very many supporters which of course is the very lifeblood of our ongoing success and for which we are indeed greatly indebted to one and all. The Friends would like to say a very big thank you to the following who organised these latest fundraisers: in October a group of 20 kind ladies took part in the Limerick Womens Mini Marathon which was a huge success and raised the very generous sum of €12,543, all thanks to the very hard work and effort on the part of these great ladies. In particular the Friends would like to say a very special thank you to two of these ladies, Frances Kelly and Lucy Geoghegan who between them raised over €3,000 which is truly an enormous achievement in the current climate and indeed raised a similar amount in the October 2010 Mini Marathon. In November the Friends of St. Ita’s joined forces with the Newcastle West Agricultural Show Committee for the 4th year in succession and ran a very successful fashion show in the Devon Inn on November 16th and raised €3,220, after expenses, which was divided between the two organisations. Again a very sincere thank you to all who supported this event, to all who gave the many very generous spot prizes, to the Modelling Agency Celia Holman Lee and to the Devon Inn Hotel for providing the venue and for all their help in preparing the venue on the night. In November/December Santa in his sleigh did a tour of all the towns and villages in West Limerick which was very kindly organised by Lucia and Stephen Riordan, Margaret Culhane, our secretary and a team of very enthusiastic collectors, and behind the scenes we had Tom Moroney, Moroney Engineering Ltd, Shanagolden who made up the beautiful Santa sleigh which is really spectacular and always proves to be a huge draw both for young and old, not to mention Santa himself who played a blinder and with whom every child, big and small, was totally enthralled, so a very big thank you Santa and our very grateful thanks to Moroney Engineering. Also a big thank you to our other sponsors for this fundraiser, Shakeel of Glin Grub who sponsored sweets etc. The event which is now in its 4th year was a huge success and raised in excess of €7,300 this year and in total has now raised close on €30k over the four years. This is truly phenomenal and a huge credit to all involved for their enormous hard work, commitment and dedication and for their great courage in braving the elements which oft times were quite Arctic! Finally in December Marie Adams of Adams’ Garage, Glin held an exhibition and sale of her own pastel drawings and very kindly donated 15 of these exquisite drawings for sale at the exhibition which was held at Cloverfield Centre, Glin courtesy of Cloverfield Management Committee who also very kindly sponsored a cheese and wine reception on the night. Again this event was a huge success and raised the very generous sum of €2,525 including the proceeds of a raffle held in conjunction with the event. So a very big thank you to Marie for this very generous gesture and also a very sincere thank you to Cloverfield Management Committee and their chairman John Anthony Culhane for their generous input.

In conclusion the Friends would like to say a very big thank you once again to all of these truly wonderful people and the very many others for their ongoing very loyal support and generosity which is really greatly appreciated considering the financial strains facing so many at this time. The Friends also wish to say a very big thank you to the kitchen staff at St. Ita’s for the beautiful food, which they prepared and laid on for this Christmas get-together and served in such a pleasant and indeed efficient manner. With a very special word of thanks to Breda Muckell, chef, Siobhán Lane and Mary Buicke who came back in their own time to serve the food and look after the guests. These kind ladies and indeed all the staff do St. Ita’s proud. Also the Friends were delighted to welcome our great friend Nora O’Keeffe, Ballingarry and her husband Denis, this time as guests on the night. Also a big thank you to Patsy Madigan who joined us as photographer for the Weekly Observer. As ever a big thank you from the Friends to the staff at the Weekly Observer for their ongoing very positive support through the many photographs and press releases which they continue to publish on our behalf. Finally the Friends are delighted to say that our current project to provide a new Rehab Unit and upgrade the current day hospital facilities as previously reported on in the Weekly Observer is very much on track with the building phase targeted to start in the next 12 months. Also as another good news snippet of information, an upgrade of Unit 3 at St. Ita’s has just been completed which sees a beautiful state of the art unit ready to re-open next month much to the delight of the residents and their families. So all very positive developments for St. Ita’s and in turn crating a very positive outlook for the future of St. Ita’s! The Friends of St. Ita’s would like to wish everybody a very happy Christmas and New Year and thank you for your ongoing support.