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Residents make it a very Happy Christmas for senior citizens

The Elm Park Residents Association on a break from planning the Christmas party for Clonmels senior citizens at Hillview Sports Club on Thursday, December 19. Back, Eddie McGee, Deirdre Landers, Emma Furlong, Ita Dorney, Siobh�n Fogarty, Susan Farrell and Marie Ryan. Centre, Breda Mullins, Darren Ryan and Santa. Front, Helen Sweeney and Helen Cagney.

The Elm Park Residents Association on a break from planning the Christmas party for Clonmels senior citizens at Hillview Sports Club on Thursday, December 19. Back, Eddie McGee, Deirdre Landers, Emma Furlong, Ita Dorney, Siobh�n Fogarty, Susan Farrell and Marie Ryan. Centre, Breda Mullins, Darren Ryan and Santa. Front, Helen Sweeney and Helen Cagney.

The Elm Park Residents Association has entertained Clonmel’s senior citizens at Christmas for several years now and this year will be no different.

The association’s 11th annual Christmas party will be held at Hillview Sports Club on Thursday evening, December 19, beginning with Mass celebrated by Canon Brendan Crowley, Parish Priest of Ss Peter and Paul’s, at 6.30.

While the event is organised by the Elm Park group, almost 150 senior citizens from all over the town are invited to share in a community celebration that makes the festive season all the more memorable for everyone involved.

“It’s a huge commitment but there’s great satisfaction out of it”, says Darren Ryan, chairman of the residents association. “We know from talking to some of the old people that it’s the only Christmas dinner they’ll have”.

The party costs about €4,000 to organise, and while there’s an amount of goodwill from across the community and businesses for the event the residents association admits that it’s struggling to meet that cost in the current climate.

“We’re great to raise a few bob but we know we’re up against it this year because of the recession”, says secretary Deirdre Landers.

While donations have fallen in recent years, the organisers are very grateful to everyone who has supported the party.

Once again this year the red carpet will be laid out for the senior citizens, who enjoy an evening free of any cost. They’re collected at home and brought to and from the party, thanks to the generosity of John O’Donoghue’s bus and Noel Peters’ taxi firm, as well as the Red Cross, which makes its wheelchair-accesible minibus available; they enjoy a four-course meal; a complimentary drink; music by Stefan Grace and a present from Santa.

For the past 9 years the sports and social club at Abbott Vacular has donated €1,000 for the presents and its members are invited to present them to the party goers.

“The amount of support we get from across the community is huge”, says Darren Ryan. Civil Defence, the Red Cross, main chef Anthony Hackett, Stefan Grace, Johnny Callanan, the Mayor, Sean Ryan and teenagers from Elm Park (who act as waiters) all combine to make it a major success every year. St. Oliver’s School pupils also help by designing and selling Christmas cards.

Any individual, group, club, organisation or business that wishes to contribute towards the cost of the party should contact the Elm Tree Community Centre, Elm Park, Clonmel, tel. 052-6189461.

 

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