Thursday 21 September 2017

Calling all carol singers for record-breaking bid

CHARITY SING-SONG: The carol singing record attempt will take place in Croke Park
CHARITY SING-SONG: The carol singing record attempt will take place in Croke Park

SAM GRIFFIN

THE mother of Donal Walsh is urging people to get behind a world record attempt at the largest-ever gathering of Christmas carol singers in aid of families of critically ill children.

Croke Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the Guinness World Record attempt in aid of charities the Sanctuary and Cliona's Foundation – the charity that gave funds to Donal's family during his illness.

"Donal benefited from the Cliona Foundation when he was alive in a small way and at the time we were very grateful for it because he could spend it in whatever way he wanted," Elma Walsh said of her son, who tragically passed away following his battle with cancer in May after campaigning vigorously against teen suicide.

"He enjoyed spending what he got and he spent all of it. He usually spent his money on presents for other people and I think that's probably what he spent that money on."

Elma was asked to promote the 'Stars, Choirs and Carols' event on local radio in Kerry and is encouraging the public to get behind the event, organised by businessman Richard Mulcahy, following his appearance on RTE show The Secret Millionaire.

The man who made his fortune selling cosmetics and pharmaceuticals before setting up a mobile software company is a patron of the Sanctuary and has been actively fundraising for Cliona's Foundation.

"Like all charities, Cliona's Foundation requires a great deal of effort, a lot of people and a lot of money, and I knew it could fail unless it became a national charity," Mr Mulcahy told the Sunday Independent.

"They were helping around 200 families around Ireland but they didn't have a structure or proper fundraising as a national charity."

Mr Mulcahy initially approached the Army about a fundraising parachute jump, but was instead offered the services of the Army Number One Band – coincidentally set up by his grandfather and the State's first Defence Minister, General Richard Mulcahy. When the GAA offered their headquarters for one night only, the idea to break the Guinness World Record was hatched after Richard discovered the record was held by 15,100 carol singers from South Korea.

And with guests like Miriam O'Callaghan, Louis Walsh, soprano Celine Byrne, the Celtic Tenors, some 500 choirs including the Dublin Gospel Choir, and surprise guests to be unveiled on the night, Mr Mulcahy is confident of smashing the record.

"If we get 23,000 people into the stadium we will raise €250,000 and that would obviously be a fantastic amount to give to these particularly deserving charities," Mr Mulcahy added.

Tickets for the December 19 event cost €15 and are available online from www.tickets.ie, can be ordered over the phone on 1800 90 10 90 or on the night itself.

The event will be televised live on RTE, and Iarnrod Eireann will be putting on additional train services on the night.

More information is available on www.starschoirsandcarols.ie.

Sunday Independent

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