Rare Seamus Heaney Memorabilia Tops Bill at Charity Auction!

A signed limited edition Christmas card published privately for Seamus Heaney will be going under the hammer later this year to raise money for two local charities.

The auction, which will take place during a Masquerade May Ball on Saturday 3 May in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown, is in aid of the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group and Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

The ‘At the Hillhead’ Millennium Christmas Card was privately printed by Faber & Faber for Seamus Heaney. The card is signed and in mint condition. It is drawing interest from fans and collectors across the island of Ireland and the United States.

Organisers, Jacqueline McGonigle and Emma McCann, who both have personal connections to the charities, are hoping to raise £10,000 from the event that will include sale of the Heaney card, as well as the other items being auctioned and raffled throughout the evening.

Jacqueline McGonigle said, “We chose these charities as both of us have lost a parent to cancer, Emma’s mother in 2000 and my father in 2004. My mother was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008 and the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group was extremely supportive when I just needed someone to talk to and let me know that I wasn’t on my own, as well as offering practical advice about caring for someone with Dementia.

“We hope this rare card will help us reach our target along with our other auction and raffle prizes which include city breaks, hampers, beauty products, flying lessons, theatre tickets, spa passes, a donation from renowned artist Terry Bradley and much more.”

Daybreak Presenter Rita Fiztgerald who will compere the evening, pictured with the organisers Jacqueline McGonigle and Emma McCann who are aiming to raise £10,000 for the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group and Cancer Focus.

The event begins at 7pm and comperes are TV presenter Rita Fitzgerald and Willie John O’Donnell. Guests will also be entertained by James Huish and his Band along with some surprise performances during the course of the evening.

Emma McCann, who is the community fundraiser for Cancer Focus in Mid Ulster, said, “All money raised will stay in the mid Ulster area and help the families of people who are affected by these two illnesses. Both of us would like to say thank you for the kindness of our friends and families, and the financial support from five local businesses – Runwood Homes, Russell Shiels Tyres, Ground Espresso Bars, J&K Coaches and Ardboe Coldstore.”

Tickets are limited and can be purchased by contacting Jacqueline on 07833 488553 or Emma on 07731 375022.

The Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group has become a life-line to stressed carers, offering help and support, a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on as well as a source of fun and friendship.  As well as providing advice and information on options of care for people living with dementia, the group offers a befriending and outreach support service which includes a best-buddy scheme, where carers who can’t attend on a regular basis can keep in touch by phone or text with the occasional meeting. The group also offers £50 grants to carers, raised through donations and fundraising and is staffed by volunteers who have been, or are still in a caring role.

One of the services provided locally by Cancer Focus is the Family Support Service, which helps families cope with the disruption to ordinary family life and minimises the long term impact on children’s emotional well-being when a mum, dad or close family member has cancer. All Cancer Focus’s services are free. Visit www.cancerfocusni.org for more information.

Keep up to date with the event news on facebook HERE.

If you can’t make the event but would like to make a donation, you can do so via paypal to masquerademayball2014@gmail.com.