THE sun was beaming down on Healy Street, Tullamore, last Wednesday evening for a garden tea party in aid of Offaly Hospice hosted by Esther Kelly.
Tea and yummy cakes were served to a large group of people who turned up to support the cause.
This was the first outing for the Offaly Hospice Mobile Unit which was parked in the driveway. The aim of the unit is to boost awareness of the need for a hospice and to raise much needed funds.
The unit was donated by Johnny Mann and the vehicle which pulls it to the various locations was donated by another man who wishes to remain anonymous.
The unit is decorated with sunflowers which have become the symbol of the hospice foundation.
Art teacher Emma Perry along with Betty Caulfield, and Cliona O'Brien painted the flowers. Paul White of White's Garage in Tullamore painted the van blue and white and Print Plus took care of the writing.
Johnny Mann explained that the Hospice committee had just launched the unit when Covid hit.
''The initial idea was to go out into the county and park in places like Birr or Cloghan or Ballinagar and give out information to raise awareness,'' he said.
The Offaly Hospice committee is currently ''waiting on word from the HSE to hand over a site in Tullamore hospital campus to build the facility, '' said Johnny.
''We are not there yet but we are very close to it. Initially the cost was €10 million but things escalate and I would imagine it will be €15 million now,'' added Johnny. Once the hospice is built it will be run by the HSE.
Fundraising has been underway for some time and one of the most popular to date has been the Lions club 'Hooves for Hospice.' Johnny Mann said he understands they have raised somewhere in the region of one million euro already. Offaly Hospice has donated half a million.
''We have a whole lot of other ideas that got shelved with Covid. So we are hoping to finish them when we get back up and running again.''
Another earner is the Offaly Hospice Shop, it is managed by Betty Caulfield who says there are six other bookings for the mobile unit which they are very excited about.
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