Southern Area Hospice presentation -

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willie reynolds
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:44 pm

Southern Area Hospice presentation -

Post by willie reynolds »

Fundraising high-flyers!

THE organisers of a charity pigeon auction are celebrating a remarkable milestone, with over £100,000 having been raised for the Southern Area Hospice over the past 15 years.

The Banbridge District Annual Charity Sale proudly supports the Newry-based hospice every year and, in 2022, a tremendous £20,000 was generated through an online auction.

Southern Area Hospice Services provide invaluable care and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses including cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, HIV and Aids.

All services are provided free of charge, and the hospice rely heavily on fundraising to care for and support patients and their families.

In ‘normal’ times, the charity sale was held as an open, live auction. However, Covid restrictions meant the organisers had to look at other ways to run the fundraiser.

So, over the past two years during the pandemic, an online format has successfully been used.

The organisers employed the expert help of Co. Antrim man and NIPA press officer, Stephen McGarry, to run the auction on his site ‘Pigeon Craic Auctions’.

The online auction attracted buyers from near and far, with a superb £15,000 raised last year, followed by this year’s magnificent grand total of £20,000.

One of the organisers, well-known Banbridge pigeon fancier, Diamond Carson, said they had been overwhelmed by the support.

“First and foremost, we want to thank Stephen McGarry for all his time and effort in setting up the online auction – he really went above and beyond for us, and we’re so grateful,” the Ballymoney Hill resident said.

“Our thanks also go to British Homing World who advertised the auction free of charge.

“And, a massive thank you to David West for all his help through social media with our auction.”

Fifteen years ago, when the first auction was held, the organisers could not have predicted just how successful the event would become.

“In the early years, we would have raised £2,000 or £3,000,” Diamond recalled.

“Then, as the auction progressed, we got up to £6,000 or £7,000.

“At the start of Covid, we couldn’t run anything. So, to enable us to keep up our fundraising for the hospice, a few of us came up with the idea of making garden ornaments, which were painted by local artists.

“These were sold on the Scarva Auctions site and over £3,000 was raised.

“We then decided to try going online. Between sales and donations, a total of £15,000 was presented to the hospice last year.

“This year we had 40 lots in the sale and raised £17,575, as well as donations of £2,425.

“The auction was held between December and the end of January.

“The pigeons were donated by the best fanciers across Northern Ireland, from the three main organisations – NIPA, Ulster Federation and East Down Combine. It was a powerful effort from everyone.

“They were auctioned off on the site to the highest bidder. We’d like to thank all the fanciers and people who donated and supported the auction, including fanciers from the South of Ireland.

“The online format has really taken off and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response. It gives you a wider market and we even had fanciers from England involved.

“£20,000 is a massive amount of money and we’re so pleased to be giving this to the hospice.

“The hospice receives little government funding, so fundraising is very much needed to keep this vital service going.

“I have to say, when it comes to charity, pigeon men are never found wanting; they are always willing to help others.”

William Capper (organiser), Eddie McAlinden (organiser), Cormac O'Hare (senior vice-president NIPA) and
Diamond Carson (vice-president NIPA) present a cheque for £20,000 to Wendy Carson, representing the
Southern Area Hospice Services.
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