THE Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen was recently home one of the biggest charity country music concerts of its kind, raising £13,565 of an overall £70,000 donation that has just been presented to Friends of the Cancer Centre.
It’s a cracker of a Christmas for Friends of the Cancer Centre thanks to this early gift, which was presented by the charity’s Fermanagh Trustees Avril Graham and Jim Gamble.
The mega donation was collected over a vast range of events staged in the generous county of Fermanagh over the past 18 months; the largest portion of which came from an annual country and western concert.
Some of the top names on the local country music scene entertained a 700 strong crowd at the Killyhevlin. Compered by Sean Wallace, the evening’s bill included Stephen Smyth, Country Harmony, Joe Moore, Shauna McStravock, Eugene O’Dornan, Kenny Archer and Simon Donegan. Now in its seventh year, the event has turned into a major annual event not only in fundraising terms but also a high point of the county’s social calendar.
The charity, although it regularly receives large amounts from this group of volunteers, remains in awe of the fantastic generosity of the Fermanagh public. Colleen Shaw, director of Friends of the Cancer Centre says: “The general public in Fermanagh are nothing short of amazing and we are thrilled once again to see evidence of their giving spirit with this fabulous donation.
“Avril and Jim have been stalwart Friends since the charity was first established and they show no sign of running out of ideas. . . or energy! All of us here at the Cancer Centre greatly appreciate the continued support of the people of Fermanagh. All volunteers are to be commended for their commitment and tireless enthusiasm to raise funds to support the important work our regional centre of excellence in cancer care.”
Jim Gamble says: “Imagine what we could raise if we’d more volunteers. The Fermanagh branch would love to hear from anyone who has any spare time – no matter how little - to support Friends of the Cancer Centre. If interested, please contact Avril Graham on 078 6683 7722 or myself, Jim Gamble, on 028 6632 4800. We don’t benefit from the presence of having shops on a high street like bigger charities. Our volunteers are the charity’s face and front line, and we’d welcome more to join us in spreading the word about Friends of the Cancer Centre and what it does.“
The fundraising fun in Fermanagh also included a five day street collection, sponsored swims, walks, mountain climbs and bag packs. Across Fermanagh the community supports the charity in other ways too: with running coffee mornings for the charity, collection boxes in shops and ever-popular raffles. Local people also make donations to the charity in lieu of gifts on special birthdays and landmark wedding anniversaries, while others remember the charity in the midst of personal grief with donations in lieu of flowers when a loved one passes away.
Jim says: “We are indebted to everyone who helps us continue to raise these funds. A special thank you must go to all the volunteers who give their time to support Friends of the Cancer Centre - whatever the weather. They have made a real and meaningful difference to cancer patients and their families.”
Avril adds: “Money donated to Friends goes towards projects for patient comfort and care, medical equipment and research. Amongst the range of projects that the charity supports is Glenview, a residential facility on the grounds of the hospital where patients from outlying areas can stay while receiving treatment, which, as you can imagine, is an extremely useful facility for cancer patients from Fermanagh.”
Visit www.friendsofthecancercentre.com for more information on the charity.