Branching out: Dining, dancing and a trinity of raffles

    Anna Seymour, Therese and Kathleen Nolan

    By Jimmy Rhatigan

    All pics: Donal Foley

    THEY DINED and danced on a delightful day but they also had one eye on the future.

    North Kilkernny branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association, 30 wheelchair members and helpers, which celebrated its 40th birthday last year, likes to treat its members well.

    On one front the concentration was on the annual dinner at Springhill Hotel on Sunday and on another, an active committee was planning finance for future activities.

    Members were asked to put their thinking caps on as extra fund-raising is being planned.

    Sabbath, started with Mass, celebrated by Fr Denis Murphy of Doonane Parish in the ballroom of Springhill.

    That was followed by an enjoyable meal and dancing was to the ever popular Danny Webster.

    Birthday celebrations last year had been hard on funds so treasurer Margaret Barnaville and her fellow officers are not shy about working to bring in new funds.

    The afternoon included three raffles, the main one being the branch’s biggest fund-raiser, then there was an in-house drawing of prizes for wheelchair users and friends in the attendance of 70 and there was also a door prize.

    “We were delighted with the response from those who continue to support us in the community and also from our members,” Margaret told The Reporter.

    First prize of €500 in the annual draw was won by Brendan Brennan, Crettyard whose mother Mary was among those attending the dinner.

    Raffle profits will be used to fund an annual holiday for members and volunteers. This year’s June destination is Garryvoe, Cork where the party will stay at the Garryvoe Hotel for five days, a venue that has tickled their fancy in the past as a hotel that is tremendously wheelchair-friendly and, as in Springhill Hotel, staff, facilities and food are excellent.

    There will be a trip to Knock later in the year and a one-night stay at Hanlon’s Hotel, Roscommon on the return journey.

    And there will be an exchange visit with a Tipperary branch of the association. The cross border gathering in Tipp will be in Cloneen while Freshford Community Hall will be the venue for food song and dance, and, surprise, surprise, a raffle.

    “Our branch is very active, our committee works hard and members are really appreciative,” Margaret Barnaville said.

    Tea and coffee was served before revellers hit for home, some in a coach serving the Ballyragget, Freshford area and others in the Castlecomer Bus.

    The full branch committee is chair Patricia Watson; secretary Michael Molloy; assistant Rachel Rice; treasurer Margaret Barnaville; PRO Henry Miller.