Laois woman 'absolutely overwhelmed' as huge sum raised for 'special' cause

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan

Laois woman 'absolutely overwhelmed' as over €22,000 raised for 'special' cause

Laois woman 'absolutely overwhelmed' as over €22,000 raised for 'special' cause

A Laois woman is ‘absolutely overwhelmed’ with the success of a fundraiser she kickstarted for Mountmellick Arts Centre raising a huge sum of money. 

Cathy Bishop is on the Mountmellick Arts Centre committee and started a unique fundraiser just over four weeks ago.

In the last month, people from all over Laois, Ireland and the world have paid €50 to have a seat at the arts centre dedicated to someone of their choice. The centre is being refurbished and will have a reopening in the coming weeks with state of the art new facilities and brand new seat dedications. 

The fundraiser is a gesture to show pride and gratitude and in the process, create a small pool of funds to ease the road into the future when the doors are reopened.

With 448 seats sold, an outstanding €22,400 has been raised. This money is going straight back into the arts centre when it reopens for the overall running of the centre. 

Ms Bishop told the Leinster Express it has been an emotional experience and people have contacted her from near and far to make sure that their name is etched on the seating plan in Mountmellick Arts Centre for future generations. 

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed at the generosity of everyone. Every one of those came to me looking for a seat and that makes it special, I didn’t have to go out asking anybody. 

“People in America, Spain, Australia, Cork, Limerick, Dublin and all over Laois and Offaly have paid for a seat dedication. They are people with links and special memories to the arts centre and also some people who just enjoy attending events there. 

“It was totally overwhelming and I am so delighted,” she said. 

A new addition to the plan is that there will be three old cinema seats placed underneath the framed map on the wall with all the name dedications. Lights will shine on the old seats as a tribute to remember those who have passed away whose memory lives on at the arts centre. 

“This took four weeks to complete and it could have gone both ways. I took this on because this arts centre means so much to me but it was the people that made it happen. I had the neck to kickstart it off but it would not have been possible without everyone, the whole community, getting behind me.

“I want to thank local graphic designer Shanua Blake for voluntarily designing the map that will be framed with all the names on it. Thanks also to the Presentation Convent who are going to sponsor the frame,” she added.

The parish owned centre opened as a cinema in 1951. The renovation of the main hall and exterior is mostly funded by a €100,000 grant from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. It is getting new floors and carpet, paint and wallpaper, heating, fire and security systems. 

See the GoFundMe page here.