KIND-HEARTED Larne residents have played their part in helping to raise the staggering sum of £90,000 for the Northern Ireland Hospice.
Earlier this month, presenters from U105 radio station hit the road in their customised Ulsterbus Tours coach, travelling to towns across the province and broadcasting their popular shows live to listeners in an effort to raise money for the charity.
And on the first day of their roadshow on Monday, October 1, the U105 boogie bus arrived in Larne to a sea of supporters.
Speaking of the generosity of the local people, corporate fundraiser Ellen Hillen said: “Everyone came to along to give in money from fundraising events, and some even handed over any spare change they had. Every single pound that we receive makes a difference, in effect it turns directly into a currency of care.”
The fundraising event ended with a grand finale in Belfast City Centre on Saturday, as the boogie bus travelled in cavalcade led by the Quay Vipers and the PSNI from Belfast City Hall to Castlecourt to announce the grand total.
Crowds gathered to hear U105 broadcasting live and had an opportunity to meet all of the presenters. Also supporting the event, Brian Kennedy performed live in Castlecourt while the public continued to give so generously to the local charity.
Each year Northern Ireland Hospice has a fundraising target of £3 million and depends heavily on the NI public. Recognising that challenge and lending their support, Peter McVerry, station manager of U105 said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response of our listeners and Hospice supporters who have shared their stories and emptied their pockets so generously. The U105 team from presenters, technical support, senior management and across the company and Translink NI with Ulster Bus Tours have all played a significant role in making this a success.
“This is the fourth year of our partnership with Northern Ireland Hospice and we are delighted to be able to do our bit in giving something back to our listeners and those in the local community who need hospice care”.
The U105 Hospice Town Tour charity challenge follows on from the success of the annual partnership between U105 and Northern Ireland Hospice. In previous years, popular breakfast presenter Maurice Jay lived in the shop window of Castlecourt for six days and also travelled around 105 towns on a bed to raise money for the charity. This year all the presenters were involved and had an opportunity to broadcast live from the boogie bus.
Overwhelmed by the success of the U105 partnership and the ongoing support from the public Siofra Healy, director of fundraising for Northern Ireland Hospice said: “We are extremely grateful to U105 and Ulsterbus Tours for their investment in making this campaign possible. Our services extend across Northern Ireland with over 90 per cent of people receiving care in their own home.
“Our aim was to raise as much money as possible for the charity and to exchange it into a currency of care for local people and their families. Once again the NI public have got behind us and we are extremely grateful and humbled. These are tough economic times that we are living in and to witness children emptying their money boxes, companies writing cheques, local shops giving us a share of their daily takings is humbling.”
Northern Ireland Hospice cares for over 3,000 people living with a terminal illness. Hospice care is free of charge to the person and is provided 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is mainly through the generosity of the public that this service continues to make a difference to the lives of local people with a terminal illness and their families.
Visit the NI Hospice and U105 Facebook pages to see pictures and messages of support from the U105 Hospice Town Tour on board the boogie bus.