26 Jun 2022

Roving Leader: Friends of Newtownforbes, a charitable initiative started over a pint of the good stuff

The Friends of Newtownforbes is a fundraising initiative first founded by the community of Newtownforbes over twenty years ago, as a way to help good causes in the area.

The venture all started back in 1998 over - you guessed it - a pint of the good stuff in the Castle Inn and thanks to the support of the local community, their maiden fundraiser was eventually held in aid of Crumlin Hospital.

Committee member Mick O’Reilly told the Leader, “It officially started in 1998.

“It started with a late night conversation over a pint in the Castle Inn, which is usually how these things happen, and it went from there.

Continuing he added, “The first couple of years we actually did it for Crumlin.

“It was called Newtownforbes Friends of Crumlin at that stage.

“We did that for a couple of years and then we did Newtownforbes friends of the Cancer society.”

Since then, the team involved - which has included almost every corner of the community at one stage or another - have helped many different charities through an array of different ventures, including a soap box derby, a slow cycle, quizzes, raffles and many more.

Charities who have benefitted from their tireless efforts include St Joseph’s, Bóthar, the Alzheimer’s society and many other local initiatives. Their fundraisers are usually held each and every October.

“It is probably easier to say what we haven’t fundraised for,” Mick joked.

“It was mostly all local causes, except for Crumlin, the Cancer society and a few others.”

One year saw the team raise funds to purchase some defibrillators for the local area as there was only one in the parish at the time.

Mick explained, “We got defibrillators for our own community as the only one in the area at the time was at the GAA club.”

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Fast forward twenty years and the team have not downed tools quite just yet, as they get ready to host a raffle in memory of Karen Curran, Lou Tormey and Betty Rogers. The raffle, which is being held in aid of palliative care, will take place in the Castle Inn in Newtownforbes on Sunday, October 27.

Mick said, “This year, the whole drive is in aid of Palliative care.

“Lou Tormey, Karen Curran and Betty Rogers, were all from Castle gardens and all died within a month of each other this year. Betty would have been heavily involved in the committee and she is sadly missed.

“At some stage, each of them would have realised the value of palliative care,” he added, explaining as to whypalliative care was chosen as this year’s benefactors.

Tickets for the raffle come at a cost of €2 or €5 per book. Tickets are available for purchase at all local shops, pubs and retail establishments.

Mick remarked, “There are still tickets available for the big draw at €2 each of €5 per book.”

First prize for this fundraiser raffle is a weekend away (two nights) for two at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo, with B&B and an evening meal included. Meanwhile, the second prize winner will get their hands on €200 cash. For third place, the prize ifs€100 cash and the fourth place winner will get their hands on a €100 voucher from Elegant interiors, while fifth prize is a €50 Corrib Oil voucher.

Mick stated, “All prizes were kindly donated.

“Thanks to everyone who has helped and everyone who has donated spot prizes.”

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The entertainment on the night won’t end there either, as Gerry Keenan will be in attendance performing some great tunes.
For anyone who is looking to help out in the run-up to the event, on the night itself, or simply looking to donate some extra prizes for the raffle, contact Mick O’Reilly on 043-3346601.

The work doesn’t end there for the Friends of Newtownforbes either, as the team will be hosting yet another event on Saturday, October 12, at Casey’s Pub, Newtownforbes. The event, which is a fundraising quiz night, is also being held in aid ofpalliative care and there will also be a raffle on the evening.

“There will also be a raffle in Casey’s bar, with plenty of spot prizes,” Mick noted.

Following their fundraising efforts, the group will host a cheque presentation night at McGowans in Newtownforbes, November 9, where they will present the culmination of their efforts to their chosen charity. There will also be some music on the night, but you will have to stay tuned to the Friends of Newtownforbes Facebook page to find out more.

As to why the team continue to do what they do, Mick said, “It is just a local group of people getting together and if something comes up that needs addressing, we decide to tackle it.

He added, “I am here since 1996 and I am pretty glad I landed here, because it is one hell of a community.

“Thanks to everyone for their support and their continued support and we hope to see them all again this year and at the same time again next year,” Mick concluded.

For further information on the upcoming events or to get involved you can either contact Mick directly or the official Friends of Newtownforbes Facebook page here

Note: Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when their cancer can no longer be cured. As well as providing relief from pain, nausea and other symptoms, palliative care offers support and comfort to patients. It involves caring for their physical, emotional and spiritual needs in the best way possible.

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