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GAA Football

Ballyhegan Davitt's get into festive spirit with homeless gift drive

Hard at work sorting through the donations are, from left, Ballyhegan Davitt’s chairman Leo Marley and players Clare Lavery, Rory McKeever and Conor McGlinchey
Neil Loughran

IT has been a year to remember for everybody associated with Ballyhegan Davitt’s – and the Armagh club has rounded off an impressive 2017 by launching a scheme to provide gifts for homeless people at Christmas.

Ballyhegan achieved unprecedented success during the past 12 months, with their men's, ladies’ and girls’ U16 teams all winning county championships. But, despite that trophy haul, they haven’t lost sight of the bigger picture.

And as part of their celebrations club members decided to launch the Ballyhegan Giving initiative, asking people in their community to buy a Christmas gift for a homeless person.

A list of appropriate gifts was circulated via social media and flyers, from a pair of socks to a sleeping bag, with the only stipulation being that it had to be new.

The response was amazing and resulted in a van-load of presents being delivered to the Welcome Organisation in Belfast - who provide both a drop-in centre and outreach programme to the homeless - on Tuesday night.

A cheque for £720 was also presented to the Welcome Organisation.

Speaking at the handover, club chairman Leo Marley said: “We felt it was appropriate that we should share the joy that this year has brought us on the football field and we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our small community.

“I have had many reasons to be proud of Ballyhegan in the past year but I have never felt so proud of our club as I do tonight.”

Kieran Hughes from the Welcome Organisation added: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone at Ballyhegan GAC for organising this appeal for The Welcome Organisation.

“The response to the appeal has been phenomenal and the items collected and money raised will make a real and positive difference to our work and, in turn, to the lives of the people who use our services.

“Those services are potentially life-saving and include our drop-in centre, our street outreach service, our floating support service and our crisis accommodation. We couldn’t deliver the level of service we do without the help and support of the public and groups like Ballyhegan GAC.”

To contact the Welcome Organisation, call 028 90 240424 or get in touch with the outreach team at 07894 931047.

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