Listooder and District Ploughing Society, proudly supported by J L Engineering, will host their 127th annual ploughing match as a charity event on Saturday 18th February on the Crew Road, Ardglass.
At their recent launch, following the diagnosis of Andrew Gill (assistant secretary) with leukaemia, all proceeds raised from the event will be donated to Friends of the Cancer Centre, a registered charity who have provided support for Andrew.
Competitors are expected from across Northern Ireland to compete at the match which will include Young Farmers’ Clubs competitions.
Andrew’s grandfather, Martin Gill, and acting chairman for Listooder PS, announced: “As one of the oldest ploughing societies in the world, we are delighted this year, our 127th annual ploughing match, that all proceeds will be donated to Friends of the Cancer Centre – a charity who has been a huge support to Andrew throughout his treatment and to many others who others who have cancer.
“We are indebted to Mr Cultra for the use of his land for the match and look forward to welcoming competitors and visitors to Ardglass.”
Andrew, aged 24, assistant secretary of Listooder Ploughing Society, was diagnosed last year with acute myeloid leukaemia. He is one of the top young ploughmen in Northern Ireland being crowned the national Under 25 champion, runner-up in the Under 28 class at the All-Ireland ploughing championships and finished in the Silver medal position at the 2015 6 Nations Ploughing Contest in Scotland.
Andrew looked back on the past eight months: “In June 2016, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia which is cancer of the blood leaving me to require four-six week sessions of intensive chemotherapy in Belfast City Hospital. The effects of my journey through every session were very different. Some days were more challenging than others, from feeling exhausted, sick, to being very prone to taking temperatures or infections due to having a low immune system which once, near the end of my treatment lead me needing to be moved to intensive care. Throughout my treatment though, I made lots of friends and had some great experiences which I will always remember. While undergoing my treatment, I was keen to get to the world ploughing championships in York, England last September and it was between my sessions I was fit to travel but as planes and boats were too risky for me due to the likelihood of picking up infections, we organised a helicopter to take my family and I over for the day. Throughout my treatment, my family and I have been offered great support from the Friends of the Cancer Centre. Their staff would visit me regularly and brought me a TV, DVD player, PS4 and even a dart board up to the ward to help me cope with the long days.”
Andrew spent Christmas at home and is hoping to be able to attend the charity match in Ardglass next month.
Andrew started ploughing at only 13 years of age, being successful in the Young Farmers class and then qualifying for the top conventional class.
He said: “I enjoy all aspects of ploughing from competing at local matches, the national ploughing championships and representing my country at the Irish Championships and 5 nations contest in 2015. I hope to be back ploughing soon and it would be a dream to be successful and compete at the World Ploughing Contest and become another World Champion from Northern Ireland.”
Danny Leneghan, from Ardglass, and society member, has been instrumental bringing the event to Ardglass.
He said: “As soon as I knew Listooder wanted to hold a match to raise funds for Friends of the Cancer Centre, having had family who have benefited from the support of the charity in the past, I was keen to get involved and help with organising. My nephew, and neighbour, Colm Cultra had a perfect site and was quick to agree to host the match. We are looking forward to welcoming competitors and visitors from across the province to Ardglass for what will be a great day.”
Society president, Mr Dai Kennedy, said: “All proceeds raised from our match will be donated to Friends of the Cancer Centre which is based at the heart of the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital, and is one of the leading cancer charities in Northern Ireland working to support cancer patients and their families through key projects in the areas of clinical care, patients comforts and research. People can sponsor competitors as well as give online through Listooder Ploughing JustGiving page or simply text LDPS92 to 70070. We will also have a ballot with some excellent items to auction including signed merchandise from sports stars such as Rory McIlroy and Usain Bolt.”
Anyone interested in more details should contact Listooder secretary Wilfie Gill on 07899020877 or visit Listooder and District Ploughing Society on Facebook.
The event will take place from 11am on Saturday 18th February and will be signposted on the Crew Road, Ardglass.
Donations can be made online via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/listooderploughing2017.