Saturday 29 November 2014

Singer to raise funds for torched care centre

Paddy Clancy

Published 04/08/2014 | 02:30

Sandy Kelly with her daughter Barbera, who attends the Ballytivnan Resource Centre, a special needs school in Sligo, which was badly damaged in an arson attack recently and requires and estimated €60,000 to repair.
Photo: James Connolly / PicSell8
03AUG14
Sandy Kelly with her daughter Barbera, who attends the Ballytivnan Resource Centre, a special needs school in Sligo, which was badly damaged in an arson attack recently and requires and estimated €60,000 to repair. Photo: James Connolly / PicSell8 03AUG14

Country singer Sandy Kelly will hold a fundraising concert for a special needs centre damaged by arsonist vandals.

Sandy said she has already been in touch with other country music stars who promised to star in the show to help restock the centre her 33-year-old daughter Barbara attends five days a week.

The Sligo Resource Centre at Ballytivnan, which provides a service for 33 adults with special needs aged from their 20s to 70s, was attacked at 3.30am last Friday. An estimated €40,000 of damage was done to specialist equipment and other materials when a fire was started in the office by vandals frustrated when they couldn't access a medicine cabinet. Three rooms were damaged in the attack.

Sandy, who lives at Strandhill, near Sligo town, said: "The low-lifes did it just to be vicious. All the walls are blackened and they seemed to have been unaware they were burning money in a hidden float that belonged to 
the patients to pay for their coffee and for their bowling."

The attack was discovered when patients arrived at the centre on Friday.

"They were very disturbed. They cannot understand, like we do, exactly what happened. For instance, Barbara became very distressed when she couldn't leave by the door that she normally would," she added.

Sandy, who sang at a concert in the centre the week before the blaze, said she now intends to organise a special fund-raising show for it in Sligo.

Her son William's own band, Rackhouse Pilfer, presented a €2,000 cheque to the centre a week before the fire.

Sandy said: "I have spoken to a number of my showbiz friends and as soon as they all can agree a date we will put on the show, hopefully in the near future."

A Garda spokesman said there have been a number of recent attacks on the centre, including the theft of computers and TV sets. The HSE said the centre was due to close on Friday so damage can be repaired before it reopens on Monday, August 18.

Irish Independent

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