A volunteer-led Christmas card delivery service in Carrickfergus has raised in excess of £60,000 for nominated charities.
The operation carried out with military-like precision by members of 3rd Carrickfergus Boys’ Brigade made the annual card collection and delivery service a mainstay of the festive season for many families.
And while it has not been possible to organise it this year, the Boys’ Brigade is keen to acknowledge the response from the community down the decades.
In letter to this week’s Carrick Times (see page 15), Rodger Skelton, retired captain 3rd Carrickfergus Boys’ Brigade Company, thanks all those who were involved in and supported the initiative.
He writes: “Over the years more than £60,000 has been raised for nominated charities. This would not have been possible without a dedicated team of people each of whom was essential to the successful delivery of many thousands of cards; those who planned the delivery, erected banners and placed collection boxes in local businesses, the loyal support of faithful ladies and gentlemen who received and sorted the cards, as well as the boys, former members, parents and friends who delivered the cards.”
He goes on to highlight the contribution of two Boys’ Brigade stalwarts, Stephen Ashe and Jonathan Simms OBE, for their dedication to the task which would see vehicles dispensed to all parts of the borough carrying season’s greetings.
Meanwhile, it has been another busy year for the BB company with a group invited to attend the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall, London, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and other dignitaries.
The following morning, Remembrance Sunday, the boys joined with other youth organisations to participate in the annual parade past the the Queen at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
During their stay in London, the young people also saw many famous sights, visited the Harry Potter Studios, had a trip on the London Eye, and listened to a debate inside the House of Commons.
Mr Skelton added: “This weekend was a memorable experience which will live long in the memory of all those fortunate to attend.”
At the end of the last session, Queen’s Badges were presented to Sergeants Robert Alexander, Graham Alexander and Mark Boyd.
“These awards represent 14 years of membership of the Boys’ Brigade and achievements in badge work, drill leadership, and Christian education,” continued Mr Skelton.
On the same occasion, a cheque for £1100 was presented by Evan Rodgers to Lynda Marshall who received it on behalf of the Northern Ireland Hospice.
A cheque for £1100 was also given to Action Cancer.
The money was raised by the North Street Presbyterian Church-based BB company during their annual Christmas card collection and delivery.