Davy Boyle was hailed as a legendary and inspirational fundraiser after he presented £36,000 to charities and local groups.
New Row Presbyterian Church minister, Rev Robert McMullan, lavished praise on Coleraine’s Caring Caretaker’s during his annual presentation in the Lodge Hotel on Monday.
Davy was thrilled to reach his target of £36,000 this year, with £26,000 raised from his annual Christmas sit out in Coleraine town centre with £10,000 collected from other events during 2017.
It brings to £560,471.25 raised since Davy began his fundraising back in 2001.
Speaking to Davy and representatives who received cheques during the evening, host Rev McMullan said: “We are amazed at the commitment you and Teresa hand have shown to your fundraising over many years.
“Your generosity of time and spirit is legendary in this area and we wish you the very best for the year ahead.”
Five charities, Autism NI North Coast, The Boom Foundation, Action Cancer, Riding for the Disabled Coleraine Branch and Cancer Research UK, Coleraine Branch, were all presented with £6,000 each.
Davy also handed over £1,500 to Coleraine and District Talking News and Causeway Blind and Partially Sighted Tandem Club and £1,000 each to Alternating Hemiplegia Support Group, the family of local youngster Liam McCallum and Cuil Rathain Benevolent Fund.
Each of the recipients spoke of the significant impact the money will make to them - none more so than Natasha McCallum whose 11-year-old son Liam suffered brain damage following a collision with a car as he was playing football on January 10 last year.
Her courageous and emotional account of her son’s bravery and daily struggle with his condition struck a chord with the audience.
Liam, who spent six and a half months in hospital - with two months in intensive care - was due to enter the P7 at Straidbilly Primary School this year.
Natasha said: “He has to learn everything again, to walk and talk, everything. But he has been very pleasant and has been fighting very, very hard.”
She added that the £1,000 donation from Davy would be used to purchase a tricycle made in Canada which will help improve Liam’s mobility.
Similarly, Andre Alves-Areias, of Alternating Hemiplegia Support Group, whose seven year-old daughter suffers from the rare neurodevelopmental disorder, explained that the £1,000 donation would be used for vital research into the illness.
From cancer charities to autism and community based organisations which seek to improve the lives of others living in the area, Davy’s donations will make a seismic difference.
Thanking everyone for attending the evening Davy said he was relieved that a last minute surge in contributions allowed him to reach his target this year.
He went on to thank his wife Teresa and brother Nevin, Rosie Dickey, Johnny McKane, Denis McNeill of Q Radio, Geoffrey Moffatt, the staff of Danske Bank, the Lodge Hotel, Bonds Jewellers, Ian Magee and the PSNI, Coleraine town centre cafes and businesses, the local media and supermarkets and everyone who made donations and helped during his efforts in 2017.
He concluded by announcing his charities for 2018: The Jubilee Ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, Charlene’s Project, Children’s Heartbeat Trust and the Alzheimer’s Society.