Tuesday 16 January 2018

Birches celebrates its first anniversary

Dolly Long and Molly Hanlon
Dolly Long and Molly Hanlon

THE Birches at Rath Abbey, Grange, Carlingford, celebrated being open one year on Monday June 30.

The sun shone down in all it's glory as the clients arrived in the Red Cross Mini bus on Monday morning to spend their day in this haven of peace and transquility in the lovely village of Grange.

The beautiful garden furniture made by the Men's Shed was soon filled to capacity with beautiful home baking as everybody settled down in the garden to savour the moment.

After a welcoming tea was served, Kim Lynch, music teacher from Bush Vocational School filled the air with sweet music. Accompanying her were local girls Evelyn and Niamh Rice on guitar and vocals. The old days were very soon relived to the sounds of old hymns.

It was an emotional moment for many there, as they witnessed the clients singing the words of the hymns to perfection. The Rosary was then recited by all present, followed by a short prayer service.

Once more, a great appreciation for the treasure trove of memories still present in the alert mind of the Alzheimers patient was very much in evidence.

A tasty lunch of bacon and cabbage was served at lunch time followed by a delicious melody of desserts.

Local woman, Teeney Rogan then arrived with her crew of eager helpers who soon filled an old vintage churn with lovely cream and began churning.

Many of the clients attending the day centre took part in the churning, and as each hand was placed on the old churn, no doubt an avalanche of memories came flooding back. With butter finally broken on the cream, Teeney then showed off her butter making skills as she very quickly shaped the grains of butter with clappers, decorating them with her own personal designs.

Michael and Kathleen McGlynn, accompanied by Pat Halpenny, soon had toes tapping as their sweet ceili music filled the centre. Very soon many light footsteps filled the floor to the sound of the old time tunes.

Mary Gaughran from The Birches in Dundalk then addressed the gathered crowd.

She spoke with pride about the sweet success of the Birches at Rath Abbey. She thanked all the workers and volunteer carers for the dedication and generosity during the past year. They made it all possible.

She recalled the early days when The Birches first considered extending their outreach service to Cooley. At the time, she was assured that they would be warmly welcomed and that the people of Cooley and surrounding areas would offer them all the assistance they would need, and stand by them financially.

Mary said that this prediction had indeed proved to be very true as many people now volunteer their services each Monday and the money raised for the Birches at Rath Abbey all during the year has left them self sufficient in Cooley. Mary finished by acknowledging their gratitude to everybody.

There is an old saying 'Actions speak louder than words' and this is indeed true in respect of the support shown to this treasured facility in Grange, Carlingford.

The day of celebrations ended with the cutting of a beautiful cake, baked by Dympna Campbell.

More tea was savoured, more songs were sang, and hopefully that golden music which nestles so quietly in the mind of an Alzheimer's patient will continue to be nurtured, treasured and ignited in this beautiful day centre in the heart of Cooley.

The Argus

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