'Strictly' raised €10,000 for Chernobyl

John Manning

Published 20/05/2014 | 05:32

Caroline Dunne, AJ Banaghan, Sarah Dunne and Andrew McCann.

A STRICTLY Come Dancing night held in support of the Sunflowers Chernobyl Appeal at Kettle's Hotel in Rolestown has proved a huge hit and raised a whopping €10,000 for this great local charity.

The Sunflowers Chernobyl Appeal was delighted when over 450 people attended the Sunflowers Strictly Come Dancing in Kettles Hotel, Rolestown recently which raised an impressive total of over €10,000 for the charity.

The event marked the 28th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which took place in 1986. The evening was dedicated in memory of Nollagh McCann, former group member, who died in November 2013 after a short illness.

Caroline Dunne, Group Leader of the Dublin group for the charity, said: 'I am overwhelmed by the support from local people and businesses' to our appeal. As well as having a great evening's entertainment with friends and family, I am delighted the public are supporting an excellent cause.

'Many hair stylists and make-up artists gave their time for free to prepare all the dancers for the show. At a time of great controversy in relation to monies being mismanaged in the charitable sector I am glad to inform readers that every single cent of monies raised will go towards our much needed cause.'

The children, many with disabilities who reside in orphanages, or from families of deprived backgrounds, are being hosted by local families in North County Dublin and Galway for five weeks during July and August 2014 on a voluntary basis.

Quite simply, this five-week break will give these children access to uncontaminated food and clean water, which many of us take for granted.

The group are appealing to any businesses in the area who can give the children days out for any entertainment during their stay to contact them to make arrangements.

Some 15 couples battled it out to become Sunflowers Strictly Come Dancing Champion 2014, with the ultimate winners, Nicky Fay & TK Arthurs, dancing to Leona Lewis 'Bleeding Love', winning over the judges.

Pat Dillon, the founder of the Sunflowers Chernobyl Appeal Charity was on hand to welcome the audience and share some images of the children from Belarus and to explain how the monies raised would be used to support the children.

He re-iterated the fact that every single cent raised by the charity goes directly to supporting the children. He also stated the charity does not receive any State funding and does not have any administrative or staff costs and that all volunteers give their time freely to the charity for the good of the children

MC's for the evening Andrew McCann, Ireland AM's Know Your Rights expert and Caroline Dunne, Dublin Group Leader hosted the evening

Judges Senator Darragh O'Brien, Teena Gates and Nora Owen had great difficulty separating the five finalists in the dance-off to pick their ultimate winners Nicky Fay & TK Arthurs.

Karen & Gerry Bowers came second dancing to Shakira's 'Tango Objection' and Sarah Dunne and AJ Banaghan came third dancing to Alicia Keyes 'Falling'.

Mark Kerrigan and Colette McKittrick won most improved couple while Cian Arthurs and Hayleigh McCarton took the title of most glamorous.

Judge Darragh O'Brien, who also judged at the event in 2013, was astounded at how much the show improved since the previous year. Take Two Productions (Rosemary Watson & Alicia Grills Grant) choreographed and co-ordinated the whole show, which was a spectacular event, requiring five weeks of intensive training from all the dancers. Irish.tv were present on the night to provide coverage of the event in the coming weeks. Entertainment was provided by Jodie Morris and Hannah Ruddy who rocked the house with some singing in preparation for the final dance-off.

The trophies for the evening were sponsored by McDonalds Swords (Jacqueline and Morgan McStay) who continue to tirelessly support the work of the charity.

Buzz Print designed the beautiful souvenir programme and Michelle Quinn was on hand from Buzz Print to present the trophies.

The whole evening was captured on film by www.connellphotography.ie local photographer Paul Connell who gives freely of his time and expertise to the group for such memorable occasions.

Before the final presentation, Pat Dillon was delighted to receive a surprise cheque for €1,000 from Andrew McCann, author of 'Know Your Rights' who donated all his royalties from his book sales in 2013 which included a donation from his publisher Orpen Press.

Andrew has also kindly agreed to donate all royalties from his Know Your Rights 2014 Social Welfare, Health and Taxation book to the Sunflowers Chernobyl Appeal.

Books can be purchased from www.orpenpress.com for a specially reduced rate of €13.00 including free postage and packaging by mentioning the promotional code 'KYR 2014'.

For further information check the website www.chernobylchildren.ie or www.facebook.com/chernobylchildren - all donations greatly appreciated.

Fingal Independent

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