Support sought for GCA gala dinner in London
A special event is being planned by the Garden County Academy committee in early February that will see an attempt to reconnect with the Wicklow diaspora in London and help raise funds for the development of the young footballers who attend the academy at Ballinakill.
The Wicklow Garden County GAA London Gala Dinner Fundraiser will take place on the evening of February 3 at the Clayton Crown Hotel in Cricklewood and will coincide with the Wicklow v London NFL clash the following afternoon.
The aim of the event is to raise the vital funds for the continuing work being done by the GCA and to give people travelling to the game and those living in the U.K. the chance to connect, create networks and friendships and have a lovely evening in the process.
Events get underway at 7.30pm and a great night's entertainment is planned. Tickets are priced at £50/€60 per person and are selling well.
At Monday night's County Board meeting in Ballinakill, GCA fundraising committee members Phillip McGillycuddy and Jimmy Whittle addressed club delegates to outline the thinking behind the idea and to appeal for all clubs to get behind the project and alert anyone they might know either at home or in the U.K. of the event so that more people could attend.
"Thank you again for the opportunity," said Jimmy Whittle. "This project would have been advised to you through your clubs and through Facebook. If anybody would like to join us on the night of February 3 in the Clayton Crown Hotel, they would be welcome. It's £50. It's an idea we created among ourselves in terms of reconnecting with our diaspora in London, commercially, personally and socially. We'd like to reawaken the good work that was done in the past. I know Jackie (Napier) would have been over there, people like that, so I think the timing is just right.
"The response is quite good in the U.K. in the London area. And if people are going over to the clubs please make them aware, we'd like to sell tables, we're looking for sponsorship and we'd like to make a few quid.
"And the money that is coming back is going directly into the GCA account, going directly into the management and well-being and improvement of our under-14s, 15s, 16s and our flagship team, the under-17s.
Jimmy Whittle appealed to people to make contact with anyone they know of who have had experience in London or have spent time there and let them know that the event is taking place so that anyone interested might pop along.
Phillip McGillicuddy said that the target on the night was 150 seats.
"We've already secured over 100 sales. We would, with your help, like to secure over 200. We have the capacity to go to 250 if that's possible. Currently the sales are split 50/50 between Ireland the U.K.
"We believe there are more travelling and that they do intend on supporting the event. If we could dig up more contacts from you guys with people in the London we would appreciate it.
"The more the merrier, and we hope to have an enjoyable evening," he added.
Phillip McGillycuddy also said that the GCA development squads were about to start up again for 2018 and he appealed for clubs to send players and for coaches to come forward.
"Our academies are about to start up, our Minors have already started, or our under-17s as they are this year, out 16s will start in the coming days, 15s in February, 14s and 13s after that.
"We are always looking fro your players, your kids to come and experience, particularly at under-13 level, open-door policy for all kids and we would certainly encourage as many of you to get as many of your players up here as you can.
"And we are always, always looking for good coaches. We do have a good education system for coaches, they will get upgraded at least one level while they are in the academy and we feel they would learn and benefit from the experience so we would welcome any nominations you would put our way," he added.