the huge popularity of the medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones has resulted in an unexpected - and much welcomed - bonus for the Oxygen Therapy Centre at Magheramorne.
Lafarge Cement UK has just given the Larne charity a major boost in the form of a cash donation to help with the running costs and upkeep of their building.
The donation is linked to the very high profile HBO series Game of Thrones which has been running on the Sky Atlantic television channel. Lafarge’s former cement works site at Magheramorne, along with other areas in Northern Ireland, has been used temporarily as one of the main locations for filming this series. As a result, Lafarge has received a location fee, part of which it is passing on to this very important local charity.
The Oxygen Therapy Centre, which was set up in 1988, provides intensive oxygen therapy for patients with neurological / physical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, sports injuries and other ailments.
Treatment takes place by using specialist masks and hoods, and by using a specialised pressure chamber where they can breathe 100 per cent pure oxygen under air pressure. This process is not a cure but can be effective in helping heal wounds and avoid deterioration of illnesses such as MS.
The charity suffered a major blow recently through vandalism and burglary but the centre’s managers have been overwhelmed with the range of support it has received from the community in Larne, including from Lafarge.
Lafarge’s Magheramorne project manager, Lloyd McInally said: “We have had a long-standing relationship with the Oxygen Therapy Centre and try to support them where we can. In fact, they are based in former works offices here at Magheramorne.
“As many local people know, we have outline planning permission to transform the former works site into a vibrant recreational and leisure destination for Northern Ireland. These plans include a world-class sustainable eco-village and a world cycling centre as the central features. As we develop detailed plans and hold discussions with potential developers, the site has proved to be a popular set for photography and filming.
So it seemed appropriate for us to donate part of the location fee to the centre and help them enhance the invaluable service they offer to people right across the area.”
Vickie Shaw, Oxygen Therapy Centre manager, said: “We are very grateful to Lafarge for using their location fee in this way and giving us such a substantial donation.
“This sponsorship will help the centre go from strength to strength and help more people in the region benefit.
“The funds will be used for fixing and repainting the barge boards on the outside of the building and also for the running costs of the centre, for example oxygen for clients, electricity and oil heating.”
The Oxygen Therapy Centre completed 1,118 treatments in 2011 for people from as far afield as Scotland and Barcelona.