Pope is surprise guest at Portarlington Gala Ball

Max and Margaret Guijt , pictured at the Charity Gala Ball , in The Heritage Hotel , Killenard .                   Photo: Michael Scully .
There was real Hollywood style and glamour in Killenard last Friday, February 22 when the eighth annual charity gala ball was held to great success.

There was real Hollywood style and glamour in Killenard last Friday, February 22 when the eighth annual charity gala ball was held to great success.

The much anticipated event was in aid of Laois Offaly Families for Autism (LOFFA) this year, with tickets sold out weeks beforehand.

Over €20,000 was raised for the charity, which gives support to autistic children and adults, and their families.

Surprise special guest on the night was former All Blacks player and rugby commentator Brent Pope, much to the delight of many of the ladies.

“Oh he was mugged, he was wooing all the ladies, he really got such a welcome,” said Marie Corcoran, who organises the annual event along with fellow Portarlington ladies Colette Kennedy and Maria Molloy.

Pope appeared at the request of Keith Duffy, the former Boyzone member and leading Autism campaigner, who was unavailable to attend.

He regaled guests with his memories of joining the legendary All Black team at the age of 17, and was afterwards presented with a beautiful framed print by local photographer Con Murphy.

The 400 guests enjoyed a sumptuous meal in The Heritage Killenard, with complimentary wine flowing and raffle of valuable prizes at each table of ten, donated by local businesses.

Afterwards they danced into the early hours to the Keith McDonald showband followed by a disco.

Marie thanked LOFFA members Edel Shaw and Denise Coogan for their support in selling tickets.

“We had great support from LOFFA, I would like to thank everybody who helped, especially the sponsors for their generous support,” she said.

“It was a great success, the hotel staff were fantastic, and it generates great business in town, there was real Oscar style, glitz and glam,” she said, adding that they are already starting to plan for next year.