Carrick 'Jingles' in support of NI Children's Hospice

Back Row L-R:   Roy Beggs (MLA); Elaine McBride; Sarah Coates; Deputy Mayor Cheryl Johnston.  Front Row L-R: Madison Wright; Sam McBride; Matthew Wright; Pat Pearson, chairperson Carrick Hospice Support Group; Dawn Young, Secretary Carrick Hospice Support Group.
Back Row L-R: Roy Beggs (MLA); Elaine McBride; Sarah Coates; Deputy Mayor Cheryl Johnston. Front Row L-R: Madison Wright; Sam McBride; Matthew Wright; Pat Pearson, chairperson Carrick Hospice Support Group; Dawn Young, Secretary Carrick Hospice Support Group.

Carrickfergus schools, churches, business people and local organisations have pledged to ‘Jingle All The Way’ this Christmas in support of Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

A presentation evening was held last Thursday at Carrick Town Hall outlining the importance of the Jingle campaign for local life limited children and their families.

Guest speaker Roy Beggs MLA said: “Jingle All The Way is a brilliant concept everyone can get behind. As the current chairperson of the Carrickfergus Children and Young People Locality Group, which reviews issues effecting children and young people, I visited the NI Children’s Hospice to learn more of what they do and the pressures they face. They are the sole local provider of children’s hospice care in Northern Ireland. They provide high quality specialist medical care with compassion and dignity, in a friendly home-like environment to children with life limiting and terminal conditions. They support a wide variety of health conditions, not just those with a cancer diagnosis, and also provide support in the community. They enable families to re-charge their batteries.

“However there is a funding gap and limits to the number of beds that can be opened and the support that can be given. There are 10 beds at the Children’s Hospice, half of which are operational. I know that there is an ambitious three-year plan to open all the beds at Horizon House. I understand that there are approximately 1,300 young people in Northern Ireland with a life limiting illness, 300 of which are present supported by the NI Children’s Hospice. That leaves a lot of unmet need for respite and palliative care.

“Last year I experienced some of the successful ‘Jingle All The Way’ activity in Larne, raising funds and giving visibility and a platform to the most vulnerable in our society. I urge everyone to get behind this campaign and put Jingle All The Way at the very heart of Carrick this Christmas.”

Also speaking at the event was NI Children’s Hospice regional fundraiser Catherine O’Hara, who said: “I have to say a huge thank you to Madison Wright, an amazing little girl with a very kind heart, who, along with her mum and Dad made this night happen. Thank you also to Councillor Cheryl Johnston for hosting the evening, Roy Beggs for telling our story and sincere appreciation to Sarah Coates and Elaine McBride, our wonderful ‘Hospice Mums’ for speaking about their personal experience of Children’s Hospice and the unique care their children and families receive. I am so delighted at the turn out and the calls we have received pledging support.

“Jingle All The Way is our new Christmas campaign and we are asking everyone in Carrick to join the fun, host a little ‘Jingle’ and make a huge difference to the lives of the bravest of children. There are so many things you can do at school, at work, at home, in your Church and clubs. We have lots of fundraising ideas to share with you and help you have a great time. Every single penny matters and we deeply appreciate the generosity of everyone who will take part.”