Overwhelmed by generosity at charity ball

THE CEO of the Kerry Parents and Friends Associations (KPFA) has praised the generosity of the people of Kerry who came out in their droves on New Year's Eve to support a fundraising ball at Ballybunion's Golf Hotel.

Marie Lenihan said she was overwhelmed by the huge support on the night, with over 120 guests attending the event to help raise funds for the organisation's services in Kerry.

"It absolutely bowls me over the lengths people go to to support things like this and we were absolutely delighted with how it went," Marie said. "Fundraisers like this basically allow us to keep our doors open in our 21 centres across Kerry."

Monday night's event was also hugely important in helping offset some of the cuts that the organisation will face in 2013, she said.

As well as praising all those who attended the event on Monday night, Marie also paid tribute to the hotel staff and management, some of whom gave up their night off to help out.

Local woman Ann Kelly, whose daughter Laura is a KFPA service user, was also at Monday night's ball and described the event as absolutely fantastic.

"People were so generous and the Carr family (hotel owners) now want to make it an annual fundraiser for us which would be amazing," she said

Hotel owner Martina Carr paid tribute to the local business who sponsored the meal, local musician Marie Scanlon who performed for free during the drinks reception and local photographer Francis Bennett who provided all guests with complimentary, framed photographs on the night.

The Kerry Parents and Friends Association, which provides psychological, home and respite support to hundreds of adults with special needs, is bracing itself for a cut of €24,000 in State funding in 2013, with additional HSE cuts to be announced early in the new year.