Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade last night (Thursday 1st December) hosted more than 700 patrons at the 17th Annual Christmas Charity Dinner in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry. After breaking the £1 million fundraising target for local charities two years ago, people were equally generous this year with just under £100,000 raised for local causes. This brings the total raised during the past 17 years to just under £1.230 million.
The annual total is a combination of more than £13,000 raised through the first ever Newry Christmas Charity Colour Run which attracted more than 750 runners; the sum of the value of the toys brought by guests for the huge toy mountain which will be distributed to local families through St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army this Christmas; ticket sales for the dinner, donations, a golden ticket raffle for two return business class tickets sponsored by American airlines and a raffle on the night.
Amongst the special guests were TV star and comedian Ardal O Hanlon, Apprentice star Grainne McCoy, singer Susan McCann, politicians, clergy and dignitaries from across the island. The guests of honour were four very special local school children and their families who were nominated by their schools to receive dream holidays. Elish Larkin, Niall Travers, Daniel Boyle and Sean McKinley were presented with travel vouchers for a family holiday of their choice by committee members.
Speaking on behalf of the organising committee Michael McKeown, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade said, ‘Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade is very proud of the generosity of its members. For the past 17 years businesses and individuals from across the greater Newry area have embraced the Christmas Charity Dinner to help families have a better Christmas and to support organisations/charities doing tremendous work in our communities.’
Michael also thanked the management and staff of the Canal Court Hotel as well as the organising committee of Emma Turley, Dr Gerard O’Hare, Mark Crimmins, Gavin O’Shea, Deborah Loughran, Mary Meehan, Declan McChesney, Jack Murphy, Gemma Murphy, Natasha Daryaie and Tony McKeown.
All of the proceeds from the event were presented on the night to the beneficiary charities. There were 23 charities who benefitted from the Christmas Charity Colour Run and a host of others from the dinner they includedRathoreSchool, Daisy Hill Children’s Ward, Head Injury Support, Southern Area Hospice Services, The Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul, The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and Newry & District Gateway Club.