Wednesday 20 March 2019

Farm centre to host live crib

Popular Christmas event will be raising money for Hope Centre and Pilgrimage Trust

Brendan Keane

Wexford IFA will be hosting a live crib in Enniscorthy on Sunday, December 9, from 12 noon to 3 p.m.

The crib proved very popular last year and as usual it's being organised to raise money for two very worthy local organisations: the Hope Centre in Enniscorthy and the Irish Pilgrimage Trust (IPT).

Speaking to this newspaper about the event one of the organisers, Alice Doyle, highlighted the significance of the two beneficiaries.

'There is hardly a family in Wexford who haven't been affected by cancer,' she said, while also highlighting the significance of the IPT taking children with special needs to Lourdes each year at Easter.

Last year the event raised €2,500 for the Hope foundation and it's hoped this time around an even bigger amount will be raised.

The Hope Centre is well known for its support for those affected by cancer.

The free event will see the crib set up outside the IFA Farm Centre on Millpark Road and the organisers are encouraging as many families as possible to visit.

Children and adults will get the chance to see live animals in the crib and with no admission charge those present will just be invited to make a donation or support the raffle on the day.

'We just want to bring a little of the real meaning of Christmas back,' said Ms Doyle, who is the Chairperson of the Wexford Food Family.

'It would be nice for people to get away from the materialistic side of the festive season just for a small while,' she added.

She emphasised the strong links between the IPT and county Wexford and of the particular significance of its yearly pilgrimages: 'Many of these children are pupils in St Patrick's school in Enniscorthy, Lady of Fatima School in Wexford, and from special units in main stream schools throughout [County] Wexford.'

'The joy and happiness of the children is amazing and heart-warming,' she added.

Ms Doyle said visitors' contributions to the raffle and bucket collection will enable other children to avail of the experience too.

The live crib will feature a stable replicating the first Christmas and the organisers are very grateful to the actors who have offered their time to the occasion.

'There will be an opportunity to meet some of the animals who were present on the first Christmas night,' said Ms Doyle.

'We have sheep, including a Jacobs sheep, and the donkey will also be present and delighted to accept a carrot or two,' she added.

There might also be a rare animal present but the organisers are giving nothing away and said anyone interested in finding out what it is will need to go along on the day.

While the emphasis will be on the traditional meaning of Christmas Ms Doyle confirmed that she's been talking to Santa Claus on Skype and he said he will be making a special visit to Enniscorthy that same day, at 12 noon. He will remain in the town until 3 p.m.

'Rudolf is ready to go and Santa is bringing his post box so you can personally give him your letter,' said Ms Doyle.

He might even have a little treat for the children on the day.

There will be a range of children's activities in the main hall at the Farm Centre including face-painting sponsored by Enniscorthy Municipal District Council.

A colouring competition will be ongoing throughout the day with some wonderful prizes up for grabs and there will also be a teddy grotto on-site where a huge collection of teddies will celebrate Christmas because it's a little too cold to do so in the woods.

The centre has also be specially decorated for the occasion by Jackie Whelan-Fagan who received a lot of praise from the organisers.

The monster raffle on the day will have numerous hampers up for grabs and there will also be a range of other prices from toys and treats to chocolate.

'There might even be a special type of drink for adults only,' said Ms Doyle.

Staff members in the IFA are busy making mince pies for the event and there will also be refreshments available.

The Enniscorthy Gospel Choir will provide music and vocal entertainment and there might even be a soloist of two accompanying them.

'We would really like to see families come out on the day,' said Ms Doyle.

'This special event will provide a light happy atmosphere help get people into the true spirit of Christmas away from the material world.'

Enniscorthy Guardian