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01 Jul 2022

WATCH: The Black Santa Appeal at Market Square, Nenagh today

Funds raised go to Friends of Nenagh Hospital and the neonatal unit at UHL

Members of the local clergy from the Church of Ireland are on the streets in Nenagh today, raising money for local charities. 

The group host this appeal every year. 

This year they are raising money for Friends of Nenagh Hospital and the Neonatal unit at University Hospital Limerick. 

Dean of Killaloe Roderick Smyth said that Friends of Nenagh Hospital is important to the community and the neonatal unit means something special to him. 

"The Friends of Nenagh Hospital is dear to everyone's heart in Nenagh, but I have to admit to being a wee bit selfish on the second appeal, which is the intensive care unit in the neonatal wing at the Limerick hospital. I have two grandchildren, both of whom were born very premature, so it's a charity that's close to my heart," said Very Rev'd Roderick Smyth Roderick.

The Black Santa appeal is supported by local musicians, including Acoustic Reign and the Nenagh Ormond Brass Band. 

Since Thursday, they have been collecting at Market Square and will be on the street again from 2pm to 5pm. 

Chairman of Friends of Nenagh Hospital, Declan McGee, said the people of Nenagh have been very generous. 

"The people in this town have been extremely extremely generous. All our funding goes to good causes and goes to the hospital. We don't get any money out of it.

In the last number of years, we have paid for a suite in the hospital. We have also helped contribute to the heart treatment until and we couldn't do any of it without the support we receive from the local community and further afield may I add," said Mr McGee.

The tradition of the Black Santa appeal comes from the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev'd Sammy Crooks, 43 years ago. 

"It started back in my native city of Belfast about 45 years ago when the Dean of St Annes decided to sit out for charity, and in order to keep warm he put on a black cloak, and the local newspaper nicknamed him the Black Santa and that's the origins of it," said Very Rev'd Roderick Smyth.

The Foodhall sponsored tea a coffee for all those taking part. 

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