Good Morning Larne has taken a series of carefully choreographed steps towards securing the future of its telephone befriending service for older people in the commmunity.
A Strictly Come Dancing night on Friday in Ballygally Castle Hotel raised £8.5k with over £500 of pledges to come in.
Barbara Ann Gilchrist, Good Morning Larne co-ordinator, said: “We are absolutely amazed at this amount money, and the support the people of Larne gave us. This will go a very long way in securing the future of our friendship service, Good Morning Larne.”
With dance training provided by Ballroom Blitz NI, Strictly Fundraising Events, the group of 18 dancers filled the hotel with friends and family.
MC on the evening was Liam Kelly, assisted by Thomas Hamilton from The Music Yard, who put on the lights, sound and music. The judges were Dr Thomas Brown, musical director; Janette Campbell, Information co-ordinator from Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd and Stuart Legge, Asda Larne manager.
Barbara added: “Both local businesses support Good Morning Larne, both providing a staff member to work on our telephone calls every week.”
Dancers in order of show:
Joseph Johnson and Catherine McCallion (Asda); Shirley Murtagh & David McAlister (Asda); Debbie Crowe & Luke McVeigh (Asda); Peter Gardiner & June Sheridan (Asda); Christopher Kelly & Maureen Johnston (Good Morning Larne); Barbara Ann Gilchrist & Jim Gilchrist (Good Morning Larne); Jane Brown & Steven Small (Asda); Carolyn McFall & Alex McKenzie (KREND & Good Morning Larne); Gerardine Mulvenna & Lee Brown (Good Morning Larne)
The winners were Carolyn McFall and Alex McKenzie.
Barbara added: “Two of my main responsibilities in Good Morning Larne is to develop a team of volunteers and to raise money to run our friendship service, and our event combined both, as we came together to raise funds but we could not have done it without our dedicated team of volunteers. They support us by volunteering as telephone befrienders, social activity assistants, supported us in the audience and behind the scenes of the show and even took part in dancing.
“We could not have put the show on without our Strictly Dancing volunteers. It takes a certain amount of compassion for someone to agree to help fundraise for charity, but a great deal of craziness to agree to step out in from of 300 people.
“Our Strictly dancers have together given 400 hours of their time since January, stepping out of their comfort zone, all to help Good Morning Larne put on this show, and that’s not counting their own practise sessions. We have had the best time together over the last nine weeks, we have laughed until we cried and made lifelong friendships.
“The greatest medicine is a true friend, and this is why Good Morning Larne’s friendship service is unique because we offer a lifelong friendship, supporting and helping improve the health and well being of our older clients, all of whom are the winners of our fundraising evening.”