There was much festive cheer at the 14th Newry Chamber Christmas Charity Dinner on Thursday evening 5th December 2013 at the Canal Court Hotel, Newry.
Guests, who brought along toys to be distributed locally by the Saint Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army were welcomed by Deborah Loughran, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade and Master of Ceremonies Orla Jackson.
The guest speaker at the event was Ulster, Ireland and Lions Rugby Captain Rory Best. After a fascinating informative dual interview with Radio and TV Personality, Gerry Kelly, Deboragh Loughran presented Rory Best with a special gift with the inion “To Rory Best in recognition of your tremendous achievements in the world of sport & your contribution to the voluntary sector in the Greater Newry area 5th December 2013″
Dinner patrons were treated to special festive entertainment by the presence of international violinist Patricia Treacy and students from local schools.
Over 730 people attended the gala dinner, together with 130 children from local schools. The Charity Dinner, combined with Santa Fun Run, which was held on 22nd November 2013, raised £80,104 approximately for local children’s charities incorporating cash and toys. As a result, total funding raised over the fourteen years of the Annual Christmas Charity event incorporating the Santa run is £968,858.
Dr. Gerard O’Hare, Gemma Murphy and Declan McChesney presented three special primary school children with tickets / travel vouchers for their families to Euro Disney. The three special children were:
Matthew McGennity – St Colman’s Abbey Primary School
Sonny Dobbin – St Peter’s Cloughreagh Primary School
Matthew McGowan – St Joseph’s Convent Primary School
Speaking on behalf of the organising committee, event co-ordinator, Feargal McCormack, said he was thrilled with the overwhelming success of the event, which has now become the premier business social event in the region.
Rory Best received a £5,000 cheque on behalf of Special Olympics Ireland, and the other nominated beneficiary charities of the Christmas Charity Dinner were the Newry Gateway Club, PIPS Newry & Mourne, Headway Newry, Rathore School Special Needs Associated Summer Scheme, St Vincent de Paul Society, The Salvation Army, The Children’s Ward Daisy Hill Hospital and the Southern Area Hospice.