About nine months ago my mum Catherine O’Gara and Auntie Anne-Marie O’Malley thought it would be a good idea to organise a Christmas Gala Dinner & Dance in order to gain more sponsors for the children of The Good Life Orphanage. Following the success of our ‘St Pats Hooley’ at the Bowdon Rooms, we chose the same venue.
Over the past few weeks I have helped mum and Auntie Anne to organize the event. We wanted the main focus of the evening to be the sponsorship of the children, so we decided to dedicate each table of 5 couples to 1 child, in the hope that each couple would pledge £5.00 per month to support that child, as we know that it costs £25.00 a month to clothe, feed and educate each child at the Good Life Orphanage. We chose a very Christmassy theme for the evening, Mary sent us pictures and the stories of all the children who were being put forward for sponsorship, I then put together all the sponsorship forms, photographs for the table, and also a rolling presentation to be played during the meal, which again focused on the children, but also thanked all the loyal supporters who had raised money for the orphanage throughout the year. I also thought it would be nice to do some Christmas baubles with the children’s faces on as mementos for their sponsor to take home and put on their Christmas tree. Me and mum spent nearly a full day in Staples printing and laminating everything.
Auntie Anne Marie booked a great band from Yorkshire called ‘The Rips’ we had a few problems getting a DJ as we were let down by the one we had booked and we were allocated DJ TEZ two days before the function. We managed to get a friend of the family ‘Sean Ryan’ as our Master of Ceremonies and Dennis Keegan to do our Sponsorship Speech. Mum also arranged for my school choir to come and perform as guests arrived.
When the night finally arrived, everything went better than we could have hoped. Guests arrived to a Mulled Wine reception, open fire, and ‘The Capriccio Singers’ from Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, singing beautiful carols and Christmas songs. The room looked amazing,
Everyone took their seats and dinner was served. My presentation was played and went very well, Dennis gave the sponsorship speech with great confidence and professionalism, explaining the aims of the evening to perfection. Sean was a great Master of Ceremonies ensuring went everything went to plan. The DVD was played and Mary did her speech, even the waitresses were crying when they heard some of the children’s stories.
I was helped on the night by my friends Niamh, Lottie and Siobhan. We organised the prize draw for some great prizes including an overnight stay at the Lowry Hotel with dinner, two luxury hampers & champagne.
Then ‘The Rips’ came on stage they were great! The women seemed to be swooning over them! Everyone danced the night away. Towards the end of the night, Elvis O’Gara made an appearance as usual! A great night was had by everyone and it was a great success.
We couldn’t have pulled it off if it wasn’t for the help of Bridget Maher, Mary Grady, Suzanne Lewis and the Capriccio Singers from Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, Sean Ryan, Dennis Keegan, Lottie Smith, Niamh Farrell and Siobhan Keegan. Neil Hughes at the Bowdon Rooms and all the staff. Bernie O’Brien & Angela who took all the photographs on the evening, The Rips Band, Kay and Mike Flynn who sponsored the Mulled Wine Reception. Andrew McHale & Company who could not attend on the night but kindly offered to sponsor some of the children, and of course everyone who attended and sponsored a child or entered the prize draw. Thank You to everyone for making the night such a success!!
We managed to raise over £5,000 after costs with every penny going directly to the GLO, also we now have an additional £300 per month going towards the sponsorship of the children which is an amazing amount in today’s current financial climate

Roisin O’Gara

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