Bash to raise funds for ‘invaluable’ charities

Victoria and Christopher  Simpson with little Harriet
Victoria and Christopher Simpson with little Harriet

A ‘Bash in the Barn’ night is taking place on Saturday, 11 August to raise funds for two “invaluable” charities who went above and beyond for little Harriet Simpson.

Harriet’s parents Victoria and Christopher Simpson, president of Rathfriland Young Farmers’ Club, have organised the event to raise awareness and funds for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust and the Ronald McDonald House charity.

Little Harriet Simpson

Little Harriet Simpson

Attendees will enjoy a BBQ plus barn dance and entertainment from a local DJ.

People are asked to make a donation at the door. The event will kick off at 8pm and will be held at 151 Clonvaraghan Road, Ballyward.

“Christopher and I want to highlight the invaluable services that both charities offer,” explained mum Victoria.

Victoria was informed at her 20 week antenatal scan that Harriet had a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare and complex heart defect that occurs in about five out of every 10,000 babies.

It is a form of congenital heart disease presenting a problem with the heart’s structure and function due to abnormal development before birth.

“Following the diagnosis a care plan was put in place and I received an absolute first class service from the NHS,” she added.

“Harriet was born at the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast on 14 March 2017 and she spent her first 24 hours in the neo-natal unit for observation purposes due to the known heart condition.”

After five days the new parents were able to bring Harriet home and Victoria said that the “excellent care” continued.

“The follow-up care we received with District Nurses, Health Visitors and the Clark Clinic in Belfast was fantastic. There was so much support and guidance from every health care professional who was involved with Harriet.”

At eight-months-old Harriet had heart surgery at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.

While there, Victoria and Christopher, who works as a farm manager at Moira, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House Evelina which Victoria said was a “real home from home environment.”

The houses throughout the UK are open 365 days a year providing free accommodation with each bedroom’s telephone directly linked to the children’s ward.

The Evelina House is located just a five minute walk from the specialist children’s hospital where Harriet received her treatment.

Victoria commented that the support from both the Ronald McDonald House charity and Children’s Heartbeat Trust ensured that herself and Christopher didn’t have to worry about things such as preparing lunches or buying expensive food in the hospital as the house provides free sandwiches and snacks for families.

They also received £250 from the Children’s heartbeat Trust to help them throughout their stay, as do all families going through a similar situation.

Children’s Heartbeat Trust provides practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people living with heart disease and their families.

They offer youth and family support services, fund research and campaign for the voice of children, young people and their families.

Victoria added: “The Bash in the Barn fundraising will be a celebration for us on the progress that Harriet has made and a way of thanking the two charities for their support throughout the last year and a half.”

A raffle will take place on the night and if any local businesses wishes to get involved the family would be pleased to hear from them.

Victoria and Christopher can be contacted on 0797060499/07871017547.