Tuesday 16 January 2018

Oscar's spirits far from flagging after €20,000 raised

Oscar with the flag's original owners
Oscar with the flag's original owners
Three-year-old Oscar Knox with the message he tweeted to the Irish soccer fans who brought the flag to the Euros

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Editor

OUR interest in the Euro 2012 is certainly flagging, but one of its funniest spin-offs has managed to secure more than €20,000 for charity.

An Irish tricolour made headlines across the world with its 'Angela Merkel Thinks We're At Work' slogan.

Yesterday, after returning from its well-documented adventures in Poland, it was auctioned for charity, and eventually sold to a pair based in Spain and Australia.

The flag was bought for €15,800 by Oonagh McNereny, a director of a research development company in Barcelona, along with her brother-in-law, Martin Digby, based in Queensland.

"I didn't even know Martin was home in Ireland but when he heard bidding on the radio, he tried to outbid me," Ms McNereny, originally from Listowel, told the Irish Independent.

"So I then gave him a ring, and we joined forces to buy the flag."

The money raised -- including €5,000 donated by the nightclub Copper Face Jacks -- will be split between the Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin, and the Oscar Appeal, which was set up to help provide treatment for Oscar Knox, a Belfast boy with a rare disease.

The three-year-old was chosen after he tweeted the Irish soccer fans who brought the flag to the Euros with his own witty message: "My Mam Thinks I'll Be In Bed Early".

Eoin Cantwell, who was one of the group who came up with the slogan, said they were "ecstatic" that their flag made so much for charity.

Bridge

"We hoped for two or three thousand, but we never dreamed it would go for anything like this," he said.

"We are blown away by the amount of money raised. We'll have to make sure Angela doesn't hear about it, or she may want a cut herself."

Mr Cantwell travelled to Belfast to meet Oscar with his friends after they returned from Poland last Wednesday.

The flag will now be brought to Ms McNereny's company offices in Dublin and Barcelona, and then be sent to Mr Digsby's company, which hopes to hang it from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

However, the flag's final home will be with Oscar himself. "Wee Oscar is the rightful owner of the flag," Ms McNereny said, after the auction on the 'Ryan Tubridy Show' on 2FM.

"We just love the idea of being part of an adventure that saw a witty flag transformed into a worldwide phenomenon that grabbed people's attention, and then helped raise funds for a sick child and a hospital."

Oscar is being treated for neuroblastoma, a rare disease in which malignant cancer cells form in nerve tissue of the adrenal gland, neck, chest or spinal cord.

Irish Independent

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