Priest blesses Ballyfin Vintage & Veterans Club before epic road trip for Laois Hospice

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

The good people of Ballyfin have dug deep for a big Laois Hospice fundraiser by Ballyfin Vintage & Veteran Club, sponsoring them for an epic road trip to Cork.
Two months since the club came up with the idea to drive a round trip of 410km to Cork in their vintage tractors and cars, €15,000 has been received in sponsorship, with the figure still growing.
Majella Ffrench O'Connor is a club member, and is delighted with the support.
“Our target was €10,000, and people must have though we were nuts, we are only a small club,” she said.
They printed sponsor cards and the support quickly flooded in.
“Local businesses and people put their hands in their pockets, some people donating €300 and €400,” said Ms Ffrench O'Connor.
Laois Hospice Foundation was an obvious choice for the club.
“We chose Laois Hospice because it is a great cause. Nearly everybody has been touched directly or indirectly by cancer,” she said.

Laois Hospice needs volunteers for Sunflower Day

Torrential rain to hit Ireland and Laois today

Last Thursday morning May 31, 15 vintage tractors and five cars set off from the Deadman's Inn in Ballyfin for Cork.
After a hearty breakfast, and a blessing by Parish Priest Fr Pat Hennessy, they were waved off by a crowd of family friends and neighbours, as well as the pupils of Ballyfin NS who had made a presentation to them.
Their destination is the Innishannon Steam and Vintage Rally in Cork, 202 km away, taking place over the June Bank Holiday weekend.
The group plan to stay overnight at two hotels along the route, arriving this Saturday at 4pm in Cork.
“We are going to Cork out of our own pockets, so that every penny collected goes to Laois Hospice,” Ms Ffrench O'Connor said.
Their support vehicles are a van and a low loader, in case any vintage vehicle had a serious breakdown.
The small club has about 20 members.
“We have put a lot of hard work into this fundraiser, but the weekend will be a wonderful club social event, as well as the business of the fundraiser,” she said.
They have also received support from vintage enthusiasts in other Laois clubs, including the Rock Inn, Raheen and Camross clubs.
Donations can still be made to any Ballyfin Vintage and Veterans committee member, or at the Deadman's Inn in Ballyfin.

Scroll through our gallery of photographs above, taken by Denis Byrne.