An annual Portlaoise Prison charity soccer match this week is in aid of a make-over of the town's day care centre for the elderly.
The Skipper Deegan Memorial Cup, in memory of the retired officer who passed away three years ago, is organised by his daughter Marita, also a prison officer, and Danny O'Loughlin.
Last year the annual charity soccer match was renamed in honour of Skipper, and it raised over €1,000 for PATH, a Portlaoise charity that helps Dublin's homeless.
This year they chose the day care centre on the New road. They plan to make-over a craft room, renovate a washroom, and re-upholster 13 armchairs with the help of some of the prisoners.
Kick-off is this Thursday May 25 at 7.45pm at Portlaoise Leisure Centre, and all are invited to cheer on the players, and buy a €5 raffle ticket to support the fundraiser.
“If Dad was still here, he'd be heading himself to the centre. A lot of work is needed, it's really out of date. We hope to raise €1,500 but we realised that we would achieve a lot more if we did the work ourselves, with help from everyone,” Marita said.
Retired officer Joe McIntyre will do carpentry and plumbing, and another officer handy with a paintbrush is being given paid leave to help out.
“We are focusing on the craft room because it doesn't get HSE funding, but we will also install new curtains, a new craft table, paint it up, and put up hanging baskets. Hopefully it will be a new look for the place,” Marita said.
The work has begun with five armchairs already done, and this Wednesday, the volunteers will take over the centre for three days to give it a whirlwind makeover, with the support of the centre's nurse manager Lily Graydon.
“It's absolutely brilliant, we have about 30 people who use the centre, for some it's like a second home. This will make their environment so much more pleasant,” she told the Leinster Express.
“There are lots of fundraisers for other local charities but you never hear of any for the day care centre, and it is so important to the town,” said Marita.
The ribbon will be cut on the new look centre next Tuesday May 30 at 2pm, with a special performance by local band “The Rising Sons', of whom Skipper had been the lead singer. The band will also performing in De Brúns at Humes, on the night of the charity match.