INSTITUTE: Beckett’s ‘Black Santa’ underway

Ex-Institute manager Liam Beckett pictured doing his annual 'Black Santa' Christmas 'Sit Out' for local charities.
Ex-Institute manager Liam Beckett pictured doing his annual 'Black Santa' Christmas 'Sit Out' for local charities.

Former Institute boss Liam Beckett is continuing his annual ‘Black Santa’ sit out which got underway on Saturday and continues up to Christmas Eve.

Liam takes up residence at his ‘home from home’ at the Diamond in Ballymoney and will brave the elements to collect money for a number of local charities - The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, The Samaritans, Drop In Ministries, Compass Advocacy.

“The charities are St Vincent De Paul and the Samaritans, of which I am an ambassador,” he said.

“There’s Can Can Compass group, they are a local group and I love them to bits. I’m also their patron. Then there is the Salvation Army and Drop In Ministries.

“The support I get from the public is unbelievable.

“I’ve had my first donation already from a chap who drove up from Lurgan and the Press Golf Association also donated to Black Santa.

“I love it when folk come and chat to me, it helps the day pass. I’ve had people come from all over the Province to make donations which is humbling.

“Every year the total goes up so you always want to beat the previous year – so hopefully this year is no exception.”

Beckett also admitted that he still keeps a close eye on his old club.

“I was speaking to Paddy Mac (Paddy McLaughlin) recently and he told me that Kevin (Deery) and him have a young squad and they have been unlucky in a few games,” he added.

“Hopefully they can get on a run in the new year and start moving up the table.”

Ballymoney Chamber of Commerce President Winifred Mellett said: “Liam is a bit of an institution now, sitting out at the Diamond in the run up to Christmas.

“This is his 10th anniversary sit-out and I encourage people to continue to give generously to these worthy causes and help make Christmas special for them. The support Liam has received in previous years from members of the public has enabled him to hand over contributions to support the work of charitable groups doing much needed and valuable work in the local community.”