It’s time to put up one last sign around Tullamore saying ‘Thank you to all those who supported the Tullamore Community Arts Centre Draw’. The campaign, which has been ongoing for the best part of a year now, has come to a close with the winner driving off into the sunset in their new Nissan Quashquai. The Court Hotel was packed to capacity on Friday night and the build up to the draw itself consisted of different acts from around Offaly that will be featured in the New Arts Centre.
In typical Irish style the crowd came in their hundreds to witness their number coming out of the glass hats. The proceeds got underway with the experienced Draw extraordinaire, Paddy Fenning and his crew of Paddy’s Angles, Sheila McDermott and Mary Roche and Alice Farrell on hand to check the winning tickets. The suspense was indeed heightened by the inclusion of the number 2 in the first drum which allowed one happy ticket buyer to sweat a few times when the number 2 came out. When it was followed closely by a zero and then a digit there was a sigh of relief and a wave of muttering throughout the crowd. What were the odds of winning … well funnily enough 2000 to 1! John Hackett was not in the audience to take bets on who would indeed win but we are delighted to say that all bar one prize stayed in our beloved county.
A huge thank you to all involved. To the Purchasers, The Committee, The Group Leaders, The Team Members, The Board, The County Council, The Arts Office and Officer, The Poster erector Frank O’Brien, The Administrators Mary Roche and Margaret Allen, Sheila McDermott and the people of the Tullamore, The Midlands, the Offaly Diaspora at home and abroad who made this draw a reality. A special word of thanks again has to go to Paddy Fenning without whom this draw would not have succeeded. The resilience of the community is steadfast even in these hardened recessionary times. There will no doubt be more opportunities over the coming year to support the fundraising efforts with events across the county being organised as we speak. We are proud to have been part of this long hard campaign and when the Arts Centre is built, each one of us who bought a ticket can be proud of the part we played in making this a reality.