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Celebrities say 'Thank you' for charity book project

IRELAND'S biggest celebrities have come together to reveal what they are thankful for.

With a roster that includes Golden Globe winners, international authors and TV stars, the list of famous names, the list reads like a who's who of the entertainment industry -- and all for the Irish Hospice Foundation.

The foundation will be releasing a special book as a part of their brand new Thank You project -- and recruited some of the country's biggest names to take part.

The project is the brainchild of TV producer Bill Hughes, who began working with the charity earlier this year in a fundraising effort.

Speaking to the Herald, Bill said: "I was invited by the hospice to come up with a fundraising idea. And I was always fascinated by Thanksgiving, and I realised we don't have anything similar here.

"I thought what a great day to celebrate the reasons you are thankful. So we started off with some celebrities and then extended it to members of the public as well, so there's quite a few in there."

Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson issued a particularly touching thank you to St Francis Hospice in Raheny, where his mother was being cared for. He said: "Thank you for restoring my faith in human kindness."

Fellow award-winner Gabriel Byrne said that he is simply grateful "for breath".

Bestselling author Cecelia Ahern wrote: "Thank you for being you, and for allowing me to be me."

Multi-Golden Globe winner star Martin Sheen, who studied at NUI Galway three years ago, is a nervous flyer and shared his pre-take off prayer with readers.

"One day I was first on board and fell asleep instantly, then jolted awake as we roared down the runway for take-off... no time for any prayer... just this: 'Thank you! It's been wonderful! I couldn't have asked for a better life! Thanks again!'

"And that's become my prayer ever since."

Joining the list of star participants in the touching book are authors Seamus Heaney, Sebastian Barry, Colum McCann, Frank McGuinness and Maeve Binchy.

The book will be available in November and Mr Hughes describes it as the "perfect Christmas gift" with all the proceeds going towards the Irish Hospice Foundation.