Men and women from all generations in Loughgall Parish spent a long and somewhat sleepless night in Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast recently.
A total of 34 parishioners from Collegeland, Loughgall, Tartaraghan and Maghery endured plenty of hardship during the ‘Jailbreak’ event but it was worth it as the initiative raised £78,000.
The Parish has experienced three fun-filled months with various events creating a wonderful community spirit. Fifteen mini-fundraisers took place to help participants raise their bail set at £2,000 each, including a coffee morning, cocktail evening, ‘come dine with me’ stew night, steak night, card classic, singles night, charity dance, car boot sale, scrap collection, trolley dash and helicopter rides.
St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir Armagh treated parishioners to their beautiful singing at a Saturday evening Vigil Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Loughgall.
Inmates also secured sponsorship through family, friends and business contacts. Parish Priest, Fr Eugene Sweeney said, “I am indebted to the Parish Events Committee which have worked so hard in planning this event since January, meeting weekly and coordinating and communicating with participants.
“I am also so grateful to the 34 participants for their great generosity in becoming involved in Jailbreak, for all their hard work in securing sponsorship and for the kindness of so many in helping them raise their bail,” said Ciara MacNeice and Oonagh McConville, co-chairs of the Loughgall Parish Events Committee. “It was a great occasion. All our efforts paid off. We were a little nervous at the beginning wondering whether it would be possible to pull this idea off. However, the commitment and generosity of so many ensured that all went well.”
Loughgall Parish thanked the parishioners, friends, family and sponsors who supported this initiative. Without their backing it would not have taken place.