Longford philanthropist in four pronged world record attempt

Bernard Smyth outside the Mullingar Arts Centre.

Bernard Smyth outside the Mullingar Arts Centre.

A north Longford man is hoping to lead the charge behind not one but FOUR world records in Mullingar this weekend as the County Westmeath town prepares to host its biggest charity fundraiser in living memory.

Father of one and Dromard native, Bernard Smyth is one of several volunteers aiming to undertake the daunting task, one of which includes hoisting the largest greeting card ever produced above Mullingar’s Arts Centre on Lower Mount Street.

The giant creation which stands at 36 ft tall and 18 ft wide will also, organisers project, include the highest number of signatures ever recorded.

Should both those attempts pay off, fundraising leaders have pledged to assemble the greatest number of people wearing santa hats in one location whilst chopping down the most Christmas trees in under two minutes.

“We believe it will be one of the most memorable events that has happened in Mullingar for a long, long time,” said an excited sounding Bernard this week.

Originally devised by local man and decorated poet Marty Mulligan, the record breaking affair has been given a resounding thumbs up from a string of celebrities with Mullingar based links.

“Niall Horan from One Direction, Bressie and John Joe Nevin have all got their images on the card and we are hoping that people will come out and sign their own names as well as wear santa hats on the day,” added Bernard.

A charity campaigner previously, the Longford businessman and sales manager behind Loch Gowna based firm Imaging Ireland, is by his own admission a relative novice when it comes to large scale philantropist assignments.

“I used to run a wine fair with money raised from that going to charity, but no I have never done anything on this scale,” he explained.

Now living in Mullingar with his wife Ruth Clarke, whose late father Richard hailed from just outside Drumlish said the afternoon promises to raise several thousands of euro for worthwhile local causes.

Among them are Westmeath Hospice, Mullingar Lions Club and the Simon Community with money similarly being set aside for a new state of the art youth cafe.

All this in the background of a live internet stream being fed to the US town of Brockton, Massachusetts, the US town which until now holds the record for the most Santa hats in any one location.

For those keen to etch their name in history, the afternoon is scheduled to get underway from 4pm. Santa hats can be purchased on the day at $3 with greeting card signatures costing $1.

“It should be a great afternoon and we are asking as many people as possible to come out and be part of this record breaking attempt,” said Bernard.

And judging by his endeavours so far, it’s an invitation which might just reap the most triumphant of rewards.




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