The last time such a positive reaction was witnessed by so many people to the erection of the annual illuminations was at the Millennium. James Burke was Treasurer of the then Chamber of Commerce: “ The amount of people back then who stopped me in the street to say well done was huge then, the amount of people who loved the new Central European Wooden Tree in the square was positive, but this years reaction has been off the Richter scale “ enthuses James who was again the Business Liaison Officer on the project.
Val Colleran UTAH Proprietor was typical of most in business “ the amount of families who got into cars from villages and parishes – Mountbellew, Killimor, Shannonbridge even New Inn , drove to town and got out with their kids to walk around and enjoy the lights and get their photos taken was unreal , the footfall into our new streets and town centre was huge this December and anything that does that must be supported and encouraged “ , stated Val.
Manager of BACD and Co-ordinator to the Lights Project Lyn Donnelly has been overwhelmed with the amounts of cards, emails, letters, texts that she received both from the general public, but especially those in business who have had a particular tough year.
Anita Tuohy Town Team Co-ordinator was effusive in praise for what she saw was a determined community effort to mark Christmas “ everyone got behind the community fundraising for this project because we could all see the feel good value of it, our new streets deserved new lighting and our project team working and meeting since last February have really proved to all of us – how a united approach to a common need – properly explained can get results “.
Tina Kelly: The Hair Gallery “These lights are the best. The Tree is just A1, lights absolute magic. So many people are talking about how lovely and magical the town is. Cheers to those who have made this happen.”
Tomas Gullane: Gullanes Hotel “It’s uplifting to get such a positive reaction from our customers when we in the hospitality face another lockdown. Congratulations and well done to all who succeeded in making this Christmas operation so successful.
Sean Connolly: “Very well done by all. The Snowman outside my shop must be the most photographed in Ireland. Thanks to James and Liam and everyone else involved – Sean Connolly Butchers.”
The Business Community helped fundraise between their direct Cash Contributions and doing ticket sales in their premises over 51% ie €14,500 with the Community Team of Ticket Sellers and online sales making up the balance of €28,322 the promoters funds for the project. Cllr Evelyn Parsons donated €1,000 from her County Council Training and Seminar allowance and Christmas week the Committee got a huge shock when Tom Mc Keon of Mc Keons Sand and Gravel called to sponsor €1,000 towards the costs.
In our tables produced in the report we have indicated the number of books of tickets sold by the Businesses into Gold, Silver and Bronze with Bronze being at least 2 books, Silver 3 -6 books and Gold 7 plus.
We also list the names of our Community Raffle Sellers who did trojan work in getting locals and workers to support. Especially Therese Dillon and Caroline Layng who between them sold over €3000 worth of tickets!
Tickets were bought on line by a lot of ex pats overseas – Canada, USA, UK, UAE, Thailand & Australia, by Ballinasloe folk who couldn’t make it home but enjoyed seeing the images posted up by so many families and friends as well as the online Video Campaign which had nearly 80,000 viewers – including the final LIVE lucky dip draw with the Town Band on The Square which was watched by 9,000 people!
The surplus generated will be used by the project team towards next year’s running costs with plans already in motion for next years fundraiser, which will hopefully allow the group to expand the lights project again.
Seamus Duffy Chair of the BACD stated “ All of us involved wish to thank the 10 sponsors of the local firms who gave such significant prizes, all the volunteers, all who contributed and sold tickets and especially to Liam Kenny, Matt Kenny, Enda McGrath & James Kenny who put the new challenging set-up and down”.
The Lights Committee / Town Team Project Group were: Anita Killeen, Ahmed Mukhtar, Aisling Dolan, Carmel Greally, Claire Healy, Colm Croffy, Emma Moynihan, Jacinta Divilly, James Burke, Julie Sheridan, Liam Kenny, Renate Kohlman, Seamus Duffy, Shane McNeill, & Val Colleran
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