Santa’s Pony Parade success in spite of Storm Desmond

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Storm Desmond couldn’t dampen the spirits of dedicated riders and their horses at Ballycastle’s annual charity pony parade on Saturday, December 5.

Over 30 horses and riders – and one donkey – endured wet and windy weather to support the festive event organised by local ladies and a wide circle of family and friends.

Chris Butler and Santa Claus pictured during the Annual Charity Pony Christmas Santa ride in Ballycastle o Saturday afternoon

Chris Butler and Santa Claus pictured during the Annual Charity Pony Christmas Santa ride in Ballycastle o Saturday afternoon

The procession brought a smile to brave shoppers who had ventured out to participate in Ballycastle Small Business Day. A fun dog show also took place in the Diamond, judged by Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce chair Paul Cochrane, with a voucher for newly-opened dog grooming business, Jacquie Sansome Grooming, as first prize.

Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor, Michelle Knight-McQuillan, also attended in support of the event which aims to raise awareness of rare diseases - Motor Neurone Disease and Rett Syndrome - which are in need of greater public profiling.

Christmas songs were sung by the talented Danielle Brown in the Diamond, and Krystle Boyd added a little artistic flare to the event by providing Christmas-themed face painting in Sheskburn House.

The parade was supported by St John’s Ambulance and the PSNI, who were invaluable in organising and ensuring the safety of riders and spectators.

The organisers would like to thank Mairead and Paul McVeigh, Jennifer Walsh, Una McKinley and the McShane family for taking care of catering.

They would like to thank all attendees for making such a huge effort to come in spite of dismal weather conditions, and particularly the Butler family for putting together Santa’s sleigh.

Thanks also to event sponsors The Central Bar, Parker Tyres, RMK Plumbing and Castle Plumbing Supplies and McGinn’s Coach Hire, and finally to all the Ballycastle businesses who welcomed Santa’s Little Helpers inside to collect from customers. (Well done Elisha, Nancy, Charlie, Aisling, Maeve and co.)

At first count, the parade has raised more than £1,100, with the final total to be announced in the coming weeks once all donations have been accounted for. You can still donate to Nicole or Roisin McGinn, and Orla or Aileen McShane up until Christmas eve.