Special ceremony marks ten years of Friends of Children

July 6, 2010

by Brónagh Murphy

To mark its tenth anniversary, members of the Friends of Children charity and supporters came together on Tuesday last to celebrate and acknowledge the support of all volunteers over the past ten years.

All those who volunteered their service and gave of their time to raise much needed funds over the last decade were presented with a framed certificate as a gesture of appreciation.

Master of Ceremonies and Friends of Children team member, Gerry Carey, welcomed those present and introduced special guests, Honorary President of Friends of Children Councillor Jackie Patterson and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Karen McKevitt, who together presented the awards.

Gerry thanks everyone for attending and acknowledged the tremendous work undertaken by the volunteers. They really are a credit to their community, he said.


Throughout this time, the charity has touched the lives of many children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.  Many children have benefitted from its generosity and have enjoyed trips to Lapland, London and soccer matches, birthday parties, computer equipment and holiday vouchers.

Wherever the children go, the organisers of events ensure they are treated as VIPs.

A visit to Aras an Uachtarain to meet President Mary McAleese proved to be magical when Gardaí outriders provided a motorcycle escort for the cavalcade of cars in which the children were travelling.  Roads were blocked and sirens sounded as the VIPs made their way to Phoenix Park.

Every year a number of children are chosen to be individually honoured at the annual Gala Ball.

The chosen Princes and Princesses and the recipients of the Joshua Mulvenna Child of Courage Award also avail of VIP travel.  Getting star treatment, they travel in individual limousines and are escorted by a motor cycle and police escort with flashing lights and sirens as they travel across the city to the Canal Court Hotel where they are met by local and national dignitaries, family and friends.

The annual Friends of Children Gala Ball is always a sell-out and is the often referred to as the most prestigious event in the social calendar within Newry and Mourne where more than 500 patrons gather to honour these special children.

Ten years

To celebrate ten years of the charity, a massive fundraising drive got underway and in November 2009 fifty-nine children travelled on a dream trip to Euro Disney.

This was achieved through the dedication and valuable assistance of many volunteers and also with the travel assistance of Timoney Travel and Easy Jet.

Chosen children who were unable to travel received holiday voucher as an alternative.

Looking ahead

Friends of Children Dream Programme has been chosen as the charity’s theme as it enters its second decade and the committee looks forward to the continued support of its volunteers to help achieve its Dream Programme

Founder member, Denis Mulgrew, says it has always been his great pleasure to be associated with the charity and he continues to be greatly impressed with the magnificent work undertaken by this very genuine group of people.

For more information on the charity log on to or contact with Denis Mulgrew, 12 Father Cullen Park, Bessbrook BT35 7AY.  Tel: 30839294, mobile: 07825817554 or email