Donegal’s fire fighters have raised nearly €500,000 for the Donegal Hospice and North West Hospice.
The astonishing total, which currently sits at €475,000, was raised through the Donegal Fire Fighters Association’s annual car wash and bucket collection day over the last eleven years.
All of those working in the Donegal Fire Service, and there are currently 150 fire fighters in the county, are members of the assocation.
Members of the association presented cheques to the two hospices at a special reception in the offices of Ballyshannon Town Council last Friday evening.
Ballyshannon Town Mayor Phonsie Travers paid tribute to the fire fighters for their work. “We all know how much we owe our fire fighters for their brave efforts saving lives, whether it’s at the scene of road traffic accidents, house fires or combatting the raging gorse and forest fires that broke out all over the county not so long ago.
“What many people don’t necessarily realise is the tremendous effort they also put in, purely on a voluntary basis, to help our local hospices.
“On behalf of everyone in Donegal, and on behalf of the people of Ballyshannon, I would like to extend to them our heartfelt thanks.”
Eunan Doherty, chairman of the Donegal Fire Fighers’ Assocation, told the Donegal Democrat yesterday how it all came about.
“The assocation was set up years ago by a few fire fighters who wanted to give back to the community. It was put to all the fire fighters and their families and everyone agreed that the hospice would be the best cause to support because every family knows someone who has benefited from their great work.
“Each year, on the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday the crews at all fifteen stations across the county hold a car wash and bucket collection.
“This year we raised €44,000 which is a great testament to the generosity of Donegal people, especially given the times that are in it.
“At the height of the Celtic Tiger, we took in $70,000 over just one day.”
“We’d like to thank Donegal County Council and DCC Fire Service for allowing us to use the fire stations, tenders and equipment to carry out the car washes.
“Thanks also to the families of our members and all those people in the community who help us out on the fundraising days, whether washing cars or making tea and sandwiches for us.
“Finally, we’d all like to thank everyone who supports our car washes, year after year. I’ve not doubt that, for many, it’s the most expensive car wash they get all year! But they keep coming back because, like us, they know that it’s such a worthy cause.”