A popular Coronation Street star flew to Ireland last weekend to help a Laois family raise funds for a cause close to their heart.
David Neilson who plays Roy Cropper in the Manchester based TV soap, Coronation Street, couldn’t wait to help when he heard about the fundraiser in Beechgrove, Stradbally.
The 5km family friendly walk/run and tractor run was held in aid of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the Coombe maternity hospital.
The fundraiser was a combined effort organised by the families of Andrew and Laura Meredith from Stradbally and has raised €15,000 so far.
The well known Coronation Street star is a relation of the Meredith family and was eager to help out. He signed a bag on the day which was auctioned off for €100 and he happily stood in for photos with the huge crowd who turned out to support.
Organiser, Laura Meredith, told the Leinster Express that both her and her husband Andrew wanted to give back to the Coombe Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after their son, Alfie, spent some time there when he was born.
“So far we have raised €15,000 and it is still coming in which is a great gathering of money.
“Our son Alfie, when he was born a year ago, he spent some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Coombe hospital. We always said since he was born that if we get out of it we will do a fundraiser and now, one year on, he is a perfect very healthy little man,” she said.
Having David Neilson attend on the day added to the exciting atmosphere with over 250 people turning out to take part in the 5km walk. Neilson has been a prominent cast member of the long-running TV soap since 1995.
“It was an absolutely fantastic day, David is a relative of ours he came over from England, once he heard about it he wanted to help out,” Laura added.
Both the Meredith and Fennell sides of the family were hugely involved in organising the day with Laura’s sister even flying home from Dubai to support.
“We expected around 40 tractors but there was actually 76 and roughly 250 people took part in the walk, we had an ice cream van so everybody got an ice cream and there was a raffle and auction,” she said.
Donations can still be made online here.
On the online donation page, Laura has outlined why they want to give back to the Coombe.
"We have had first hand experience of the fantastic, life saving work that they do. The care that the doctors and nurses give to the babies and families is flawless. We are raising money in appreciation of the amazing care they gave to our family last year," she said.
The owner of the Kitchen Cafe in Rathdowney were happy to take some tips from the actor who’s character runs a cafe in Coronation Street!
Laura and Andrew Meredith with their son Alfie at their 'Run Baby Run' fundraiser in aid of the Coombe hospital Neonatal Unit.
Actor David Neilson who plays Roy Cropper in Coronation Street auctioning a signed bag in Stradbally for the event. Picture by Ashleigh Fennell.