Hope and Dream's huge €145k
There was a real sense of anticipation at Enniscorthy Credit Union on Friday night as organisers and friends of the annual Hope and Dream 10 gathered to announce the figure raised through this year's run.
A well-guarded secret, only a small few knew the figure ahead of the night and there was great excitement as the Hope Centre, Wexford Hospice Homecare and Friends of Wexford General Hospital's MRI Now campaign gathered to find out the extent of the vital cash injection they would receive.
Race director Michael Jordan spoke of how the event had taken on a life of its own over the years, the first event having come from a small idea back in 2012.
'The lads behind this idea initially could have had no idea what they were beginning,' said Michael. 'They couldn't have foreseen what this would become. It's all down to the good will and support of endless people across county Wexford.'
Michael said that sharing the money raised with other charities was a big part of the event's success and that once again the team at Wexford Hospice Homecare were a great fit, as were the MRI Now campaign group.
'The purple and gold colour on the t-shirts was fitting this year, because what we do is local and for the local people of Wexford,' said Michael. 'I think the reason this event has been so successful is that every cent goes to charities locally. Sponsorship is huge in making this happen and covering the cost of one of the biggest events of its type in the South East.'
Particular thanks were reserved for his colleague Denise McDonald who he said, once again, had gone above and beyond the call of duty.
'A phenomenal amount of organisation goes into this event,' he said. 'Denise, as always, has asked that I don't mention the tireless work she put in, the countless hours, that we couldn't do it without her and that she was absolutely faultless once again - so I'll obey her wishes and not say,' he laughed.
As well as this, Michael expressed his gratitude to each and every one of the 2,229 people who took part in this year's event before a slideshow was shown containing some great photos of this year's event.
He spoke of how the event is a real community effort with countless volunteers helping out in the build-up, be it by collecting money and sponsorship cards at The Presentation Centre or out marshalling the route with the help of An Garda Síochána, Enniscorthy Red Cross, Slaney Search & Rescue and Crimewatch.
Hope Centre Chairperson Una Doherty said that it was amazing the effort that goes into the event each year.
'I'm delighted to see so many familiar faces once again,' she said. 'It would, however, be remiss of me not to single out two people in particular - Michael Jordan and Denise McDonald. They are huge workers and special thanks is due to them on behalf of everyone. All of the funds raised will be used to maintain the services we have at the professional level that people have come to expect.'
Filling in for Chairman Eamonn Mernagh, who couldn't be there on the night, Marie Condon from Wexford Hospice Homecare said: 'The Hospice committee, once again, was thrilled to come on board with Hope & Dream again this year. I can't get over the momentum that this event has gained and the phenomenon it has become. Once again, we'd like to thank Michael, Denise and everyone involved.'
Finally, Ciaran Sheridan of the MRI Now campaign once again thanked everyone involved in making the event such a success and said that he hoped that they were only about two weeks away from hitting the figure required for an MRI machine at Wexford General.
'I don't know what's going to happen here or how much has been raised, but I'm pretty sure that this will be the single biggest contribution to our campaign so far,' he said.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived and after building the tension slightly, the figure from this year's event was announced as €145,120. This resulted in a wonderful €72,560 for the Hope Centre and €36,280 each for Wexford Hospice Homecare and the MRI Now campaign. The figures showed that, since its inception in 2012, the event has raised a total of €974,013 for local causes, bringing it ever closer to the €1m mark, which will surely be broken at next year's event.
Michael also pointed out that more money was due to arrive in matched funding from BNY Mellon which would mean that the event will actually have raised a total in excess of €153,000. Since this money wasn't in the account at the time of the presentation, however, it was not included in the final figure, but is due to arrive in the coming weeks.
'We're over the moon,' said Michael Jordan. 'We're looking forward to doing it all again and we've already set a date for April 7, 2019. 'I think the appetite to do this is certainly still there and we're looking forward to doing it all again. I'd like to thank the board at the Hope Centre for facilitating us and for allowing us to share it with other people and charities.'
Michael also made the official announcement on which charities would benefit from the 2019 event. While traditionally, the organisers have changed the second charity every few years, he said that they had found a great fit with the Wexford Hospice Homecare team. 'Every charity out there is worthy of support,' he said. 'But not every charity has that reach right across county Wexford.
'It was a relatively easy decision and next year, the proceeds will be divided with 60% going to the Hope Cancer Support Centre and 40% going to Wexford Hospice Homecare.
'The two charities are linked for obvious reasons and Eamonn (Mernagh) and his team have been fantastic since they came on board.
'Please God we'll have over 2,000 people lining up on the Promenade again on April 7!'