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Brendan Gleeson backs coffee morning for ‘life-affirming' hospices

The Hollywood star joined hospice hosts and volunteers at Bewley's cafe on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Actor Brendan Gleeson has urged coffee lovers to get brewing in a bid to raise €1.5 million for “life-affirming” hospice services across the Republic.

The Hollywood star joined hospice hosts and volunteers at Bewley’s cafe on Dublin’s Grafton Street on Thursday to kickstart the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice charity appeal.

Asking people across the country to organise a coffee morning on Thursday, September 22, Gleeson said the funds raised will go towards allowing people have “full lives” for as long as possible.

From left, Fintan Fagan, CEO at St Francis Hospice, Audrey Houlihan, chairwoman of Together For Hospice and CEO at Our Lady's Hospice & Care Services, actor Brendan Gleeson and Col Campbell of Bewley's pictured at the launch of Bewley's Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice (Conor McCabe Photography/PA)
From left, Fintan Fagan, CEO at St Francis Hospice, Audrey Houlihan, chairwoman of Together For Hospice and CEO at Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, actor Brendan Gleeson and Col Campbell of Bewley’s pictured at the launch of Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice (Conor McCabe Photography/PA)

The event, which is marking its 30th year, has raised more than €41.5 million for local hospices and specialist palliative homecare services since its inception.

Gleeson, whose late parents were cared for at St Francis’ Hospice in Dublin, told the PA news agency: “While your illness has defined you as a patient, hospice care looks beyond your illness and sees you as a whole person – with wishes, goals, hobbies and interests.”

The legendary actor, 67, whose latest film, The Banshees Of Inisherin, is due out in October, insisted patients are “so well looked after, allowing them to live as full and independent lives as possible, for as long as possible”.

“It takes great courage for patients and families to avail of hospice services to ensure that their loved ones’ needs are met at this important time in their lives. In my experience, hospice care is life affirming and enriching,” he added.

“I would ask everyone to consider hosting a coffee morning, wherever they are in Ireland, on September 22, to ensure this crucial work continues.”

Brendan Gleeson (Conor McCabe Photography/PA)

Registration is now open for anyone wishing to host a coffee morning in aid of a local hospice.

Together For Hospice chairwoman Audrey Houlihan said she was “delighted” the event was back for another year.

The organisation represents 26 hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families nationwide.

Funds raised locally stay local and go back into each local hospice service, helping to pay for medical and general staff, palliative care beds, home care visits, specialist equipment and new hospice builds.

“The ongoing support for this campaign over the last 30 years is a testament to the generosity of our coffee morning hosts, donors, ambassadors, and our long-time sponsor Bewley’s,” Ms Houlihan said.

“The funds raised each year by the Irish public ensure we continue to provide vital support to individual patients and their families every day.”

Bewley’s Ireland & UK managing director Jason Doyle described the 30-year partnership with Together For Hospice as “very special”.

“After a difficult couple of years for fundraising, we hope people across Ireland will dig deep and make this a landmark year for the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice,” he said.

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