AFTER the success of their Christmas Tree of Light 2016, members of Oswestry Rotary Club recently visited five of the groups to benefit from the appeal to distribute the monies raised and find out more about the services delivered.
Their first stop was Oswestry’s Transhouse Trust which helps patients with life-changing spinal injuries by providing short-term accommodation and support to enable them to leave hospital whilst providing assistance as they prepare for their maximum level of independent living and quality of life. “The Trust is an independent charity funded mostly by its tenants’ housing benefits so, with 3 properties in Oswestry to maintain now, there is an increasing dependence on donations such as the Tree of Light Appeal – thank you!” said Suzanne Smith Transhouse’s Housing Support Co-ordinator.
Age UK’s Oswestry Day Centre at Monkmoor Court, Oswestry meets on Thursdays between 10am and 2pm and, for a small charge to help cover costs, provides activities such as cards and games, Boccia, 10 pin bowling, quizzes, crafts, guest speakers and armchair exercises to a dozen elderly and isolated members of our community. Transported to the centre by Dial-a Ride, the members also enjoy a hot 2 course meal delivered by Brooks Restaurant and tea, coffee and biscuits throughout the session whilst looked after by volunteers Sue, Bob, Maud-Ann and Mary Harley. Mary thanked the Tree of Light donors for the monies received “We have bought equipment for our users to enhance our time together in the sessions” she explained.
On an afternoon visit to Hope House, Morda’s children’s hospice, the Tree of Light group met Lynsey Kilvert, Hope House’s Area Fundraiser, who introduced them to patient Kiki Thomas who received their cheque. For many families like Kiki’s the staff at Hope House become like their own family, providing respite care for both the patient and their families. “Donations from the Tree of Light help us to continue to provide care and support for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families too of course. We are very grateful” said Lynsey.
Two more presentations were made at Oswestry Leisure Centre during a North Shropshire Special Olympics table tennis training session. Offering activities for children and adults with physical and learning disabilities, members of the group looked on as their Chairman Brian Johnson accepted their cheque and thanked the Tree of Light donors for their continued support.
“We will be able to make good use of this donation” Brian said. Coach Graham Poole added “Looking towards the summer, 17 of our members must raise funds to attend the Special Olympics GB Summer Games 2017 in Sheffield and this will make a valuable contribution.” The members returned to their training with a purpose as the group were organising a tournament for 92 players from around the country in Wrexham the following weekend.
For the final presentation of the week, three members of of The Cricket Federation for the Disabled (Oswestry) dropped into the Special Olympics training session to receive their donation. This group gives people the opportunity to develop their cricket skills, for Club to County to Area and on to International competitions, regardless of the severity of their disability. Coach Graham Furber introduced Paul Evans and Rachel Evans, both selected for the England team for an indoor match against Wales at Lords later this month, to receive their cheque and said “We are very pleased to receive this donation from the Tree of Light to help towards our running costs.”
President Ian Haigh said “It is most rewarding to see how the Tree of Light raises funds for so many local groups that help others. There is really so much good work that is done by volunteers and organisations in our town. Long may the public support our appeal!”
Hope House (L-R) President Ian Haigh, Lynsey Kilvert, Rtn Mike Jones, Rtn Denzil Ellis behind Kiki Thomas