Chairman hosts reception in honour of Marie Curie Fermanagh Fundraising Group

4th January 2019

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On Wednesday 19 December 2018, Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Howard Thornton, hosted a reception at Enniskillen Castle, Fermanagh County Museum, in honour of the Marie Curie Fermanagh Fundraising Group, which recently marked its 25th anniversary.

Speaking at the reception, Councillor Thornton said, ‘As Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to Enniskillen Castle this evening to this reception to mark the 25th anniversary of the Marie Curie Fermanagh Fundraising group.  I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to the group members in whose honour tonight’s reception is being held.

The Marie Curie organisation is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary and has grown enormously since its foundation in 1948. I was amazed to find out that over 40,000 people benefitted from Marie Curie services last year in Northern Ireland alone. While this is a wonderful achievement it is also a sobering statistic and only goes to emphasise the great work which Marie Curie undertakes in the care of cancer suffers across the UK. While the first Marie Curie Cancer Home was opened in Fife in 1952 it wasn’t until the Belfast Home opened in 1965 that for the first time, a Marie Curie  Hospice was opened which was purpose-designed and built to accommodate the needs of the service. From the 1980’s Marie Curie Cancer Care, as it was then known, moved away from long term cancer care to hospice care focussing more on the management of the condition as it moved to the need for palliative care. It also now provides palliative care for those who are terminally ill.

Locally of course, the group came into existence in 1993 and thankfully has never looked back. Founded by among others, Pam Millar, Libera Mullen and Hazel Woods, the Group has gone from strength to strength. Indeed, tonight we are recognising the 25 years of service which Pam, Libera and Hazel have given and continue to give to the group.  Ladies you are truly an inspiration.

It is a tremendous honour for me to host this reception in your honour and to be afforded the opportunity to publicly pay tribute to you for all you have achieved over the last 25 years. Fundraising is never easy but for you to have continued to raise significant funds over such a sustained period of time is a testament to your perseverance commitment and ingenuity, thinking up ever more novel ways of fundraising in what is extremely challenging times economically.

It is very easy to understand why this group has raised in excess of £1,930,000 for Marie Curie since it was formed and quite simply I am in awe of your achievement.  What is particularly gratifying is that every penny raised is used to support the work of the 28 local Marie Curie nurses.  Nurses are often referred to as Angels and nowhere is this more appropriate than with Marie Curie nurses who truly are guardian angels of the sick.

Your work as volunteers ably co-ordinated by Sheena Havlin is greatly appreciated and as first citizen and on behalf of all the people of the district, can I thank you for your generosity with your time and energy to help others who find it difficult to put into words the impact which your wonderful work has on the lives of not only terminally ill patients but also the support provided to their families.

There is a quotation I have used in the past but which is so appropriate for you, the members of Marie Curie Fermanagh Fundraising group.  “Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”

It is a tremendous honour for me to host this reception and to be afforded the opportunity to publicly pay tribute to you for all you have achieved over the last 25 years and for the contribution you have made to the lives of the people of this district and to wish you continued success in your endeavours.’.