Three ‘Children of Courage’ have been lauded in a prestigious Christmas charity event in Newry. Three young children who have displayed strength in the face of physical adversity received rapturous applause for their inspirational stories and can each look forward to a family holiday in Disneyland Paris. Over 700 business people and 130 school children the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade Christmas Charity Dinner gave a standing ovation to the primary school children recognising their daily display of courage. Abbey PS pupil Matthew McGennity (4) wasm born with an under developed pelvis which has left him dependent on the aid of a walker. However according to his mum Jenny there is always a smile on wee Mattie’s face. “He’s just a happy chappy who never lets anything get him down,” said Jenny. The Abbey boy also has to contend with dislocated hips that may not be possible to put back into place and a life long bladder and kidney problem. “Though this never holds him back he just loves being at school and enjoys the freedom a specially adapted backward facing wheeler. He has many difficulties to overcome and the holiday to Paris is something now that he can look forward to. He’s just Mickey Mouse mad and can’t wait to see him,” added Jenny. Ireland Rugby star Rory Best was the special guest at the charity event on Thursday last at the Canal Court Hotel with the dinner raising an amazing £80,000. St Peter’s Cloughreagh PS pupil Sonny Dobbin (6) must wear a prosthetic leg for life after she was born with one femur bone half the size of the other leg. Her mother Aine told the Reporter that Sonny never lets life get her down. “Sonny has always enjoyed playing with her friends and she never allows any physical problems to get in the way,” said Aine. “When her name was read out as a Child of Courage she was totally shocked. She was mortified at being the centre of attention but she soon got over that and enjoyed the limelight. It was a wonderful night and this is a perfect start to a Christmas season,” added Aine. The charity dinner organised by the committee of Dr Gerard O’Hare, Declan McChesney, Polish Honorary Consul Jerome Mullen, Gemma Murphy, Deborah Loughran, Orla Jackson, Jack Murphy and Feargal McCormick has now raised almost £1,000,000 in its 14 years of existence. Money raised is donated to worthy causes throughout the district. St Joseph’s Convent PS Pupil Matthew McGowan (7) spends much of his life in and out of hospital after being born with a condition of small tumours around the brain. Even though he will be regularly attending four different hospitals right up to Christmas the P4 pupil has his thoughts on a trip to Disneyland Paris. “Matthew’s condition has a strong affect on his blood pressure and can cause scoliosis of the spine,” explained mum Roisin. At the awards ceremony Matthew was more concerned about whether his dinner was coming as the award was a secret. “It was a great surprise for him when his name was called out. It was such a great occasion. It will be great for the whole family to get away for the holiday especially for Matthew who deserves a break away from hospital appointments,” added Roisin.
11th December 2013