Newry fundraiser wins UK charity award

May 23, 2016

Martha McGrath, the Chair of Macmillan Cancer Support’s fundraising committee in Newry, has received a Macmillan national volunteer award, after helping raise more than £1.3 million for the leading charity over the past 16 years.

Under Martha’s leadership, the Newry and Mourne fundraising team has become Macmillan’s biggest and most successful committee in Northern Ireland, which is why she was nominated for the Richard Hambro Award at the recent Macmillan Volunteers’ Conference in Hinckley, Leicestershire. The award, named after one of the charity’s treasurers, is for individuals who inspire others to make a difference.

A busy grandmother, Martha began fundraising for Macmillan after hearing about the wide range of services and support offered by the cancer charity in Northern Ireland.

She says, “When I was looking after my Aunt, who had terminal cancer, I felt so isolated and lonely.  I would have loved to have someone I could talk to.

“I was invited to a Macmillan event, where I met a man who had been helped so much by his Macmillan nurse.  She’d helped get him a suit, when he lost weight.  More than that, she’d kept him going.  He was in no doubt of that and neither was I.  That’s when I knew it was the charity I wanted to support.”

Over the last 16 years, Martha and her fellow committee members have tried their hand at all sorts of fundraising feats.  Last year, the team organised a Kube challenge event, based on the ITV quiz show, and raised £20,000 in one night.

Despite this, she was surprised to be nominated for an award and says:  “I certainly never expected it because we really are a team.

“There are so many great volunteers who give up so much of their time and for so many different reasons.

“No matter how little, or how much you do, as a Macmillan volunteer you can be sure you are helping people living with cancer.  That’s what I tell all our volunteers and we are always on the lookout for new committee members and new fundraising ideas.”

Heather Monteverde, Head of Macmillan Services in Northern Ireland, says:

“Macmillan was set up by a volunteer over 100 years ago, and our volunteers are crucial in helping us to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone.

“We wanted to use Volunteers’ Week to say a well-deserved ‘thank you’ to all the people who give their time to help us. We also wanted to thank Martha, in particular, for her incredible fundraising efforts to help people affected by cancer in the Newry and Mourne area.

“At Macmillan, we have a variety of volunteering roles and we always like to hear from people that might be interested in helping us out because – whether it’s minutes or months, hours or days – any time you can spare really will make a difference.”

If you’re interested in finding out about how to volunteer for Macmillan please visit, or call 0300 1000 200.