This Christmas Day, four Portadown men will forgo their dinner, and all the trimmings, to raise money for two very worthwhile causes.
They are Don Woolsey, owner of Scotch Street Filling Station, his son Gordon, inclusion officer with Oasis Youth (CIP), Andrew McCreery, co-ordinator of Oasis Youth (CIP), and Paul Prentice, part of the pastoral care team at Portadown Elim Church.
From midnight on Christmas Eve to midnight on Christmas Day, the men will have nothing but water while the rest of their families eat their fill on what is probably the most indulgent day of the year.
Don is no stranger to Christmas Day fasts, with this being his fifth in 25 years, the first being in the early 90s.
Gordon joined his dad for the first time six years ago so also knows what to expect, while Andrew and Paul will be undertaking the challenge for the first time.
All the money raised will be split equally between Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support) NI and Helping Hands.
Andrew and his wife Joanne lost their son Zach in 2012 after he was stillborn and since then have supported the work of the organisation.
Don also lost his daughter Sharon-Elaine and granddaughter Angel to stillbirth, so it’s a cause which is close to his heart as well.
Sands runs a Portadown support group, set up by town couple Steven and Jacqui Guy more than 20 years ago after their daughter Danielle was stillborn. Steven is now network co-ordinator for Sands in NI.
The money raised by the fast will help fund memory boxes for Sands NI to distribute to hospitals all over the province to encourage families to create memories and celebrate the short life of their child.
Helping Hands is a community outreach project run by Portadown Elim Pentecostal Church which supports local families. This Christmas, it will provide emergency home heating oil and hampers for local people.
Anyone wishing to support the men’s fast can do so by giving in person at Scotch Street Filling Station, Oasis Youth Centre or by going to the Facebook page, Sands & Helping Hands Fundraiser.