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Light up a memory on Milford tree

MILFORD Hospice is encouraging people to remember someone special this Christmas by dedicating a light on Milford’s Christmas tree. A light  can be lit  to remember both living and deceased relatives and friends who won’t be with us this year. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Light Up A Memory event, an important fundraiser for the Hospice. More importantly, the event is an opportunity to pause and reflect, remembering perhaps a person who has died, a son or daughter who has emigrated and is unable to come home this year, or someone who, for some other reason, may not be able to spend this special time of the year with us. “It’s an occasion that offers a memorable start to the season and since Light Up A Memory began in 1999, it has offered great comfort to so many people,” said Pat Gilmartin of Milford Hospice Friends. “At this time of the year, many people come to remember their loved ones …

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Brian Boru Crown returns to Killaloe

A new Brian Boru Millennium Crown, which is being used as part of a nationwide drive to raise thousands of euro for cancer research, was taken to the birthplace of its namesake this week. The crown, which is part of the Jewels for Cures cancer initiative, was transported from the Hunt Museum for a few stops at historical landmarks connected with Brian Boru in East Clare, by the brainchild of the charity drive, Alison McCormick. Ms McCormick had originally intended to auction the crown but then decided to donate it to the Irish people, as a gift to mark the commemorations marking 1,000 years since Brian Boru’s death at the Battle of Clontarf. This project raises funds for the Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT), which was set up by Professor John Crown in 1997. Members of Killaloe Ballina Féile Brian Boru committee and the High King’s direct descendant, Lord Inchiquin, Conor O’Brien were present to mark this historic occasion at …

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Bringing a ray of sunshine to abused children

THE Clarecastle-born director of a charity, bringing hope to very young children in Kenya whose lives have been blighted by sexual abuse and prostitution, is appealing for people to help build a refuge for the children. Ray of Sunshine Foundation director, Olive Halpin, and patron, RTÉ’s Derek Davis, will launch the 2016 building project with a fundraising Festive Night of Food and Fashion in the Inn at Dromoland next week. Children in Kenya, who have been abused and some trafficked in the sex trade from as young as three years old, are relying on the charity to bring some light and hope into their darkness. “These children have been abandoned when they are of no more use to the people who abuse them and they are left deeply scarred, physically, emotionally and mentally, having experienced only the world’s ugliness,” Ms Halpin said. She added, “The Ray of Sunshine Foundation is working to show them beauty and a future. These beautiful …

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Tulla student called to the Somme battlefield

A TRANSITION-year student from Tulla has been chosen to represent his county in a research project that will see him visit the Somme battlefield in Northern France next summer. Nathan Peer was selected from entrants across Clare to represent the Banner County in the History Teachers Association of Ireland’s inaugural Adopt a WWI Soldier Project. The competition was open to students with an interest in history who were in either transition year or fifth year in the Republic of Ireland or in years 12/13 in Northern Ireland. The competition includes a research project between now and the summer and will culminate in a trip by 32 selected students from each county to the Somme battlefield in June 2015. The idea behind the project is that each student will “adopt” a soldier from his/her native county who died in the First World War. They will carry out research about the soldier through archival material and by talking with living relatives. When …

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GAA forges partnership with Samaritans

IT’S a sobering reality that there are few GAA clubs that have not been touched, in some way, by suicide. With this scourge in mind, the GAA and the Samaritans have launched a partnership, which aims to reduce the stigma around the issue of mental health and to encourage help-seeking behaviour. In its next phase, clubs are being encouraged to get in touch with Clare Samaritans liaison volunteers, who can arrange awareness talks for their members. The Samaritans exists to offer confidential, emotional support to people who are experiencing feelings of distress and despair, including feelings that may lead to suicide. This is done, primarily, by providing those who are having trouble with a safe place to talk. To achieve this, the charity operates a helpline, which is available 24/7, at a free-to-caller number 116 123. They may be contacted by email at jo@samaritans.org, or people can also call to the centre on the Kilrush Road in Ennis, between the …

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Clare Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Joe Downey.

How to keep safe this Christmas

As Christmas draws near, Clare’s Crime Prevention Officer is handing out some advice to create awareness among the public and business community of crimes that occur at this time of year. Sergeant Joe Downey, of Ennis Garda Station, explained that thefts are more frequent at this time of year and are carried out by casual and professional shoplifters, who may be operating in groups. He advised retailers to ask themselves a number of questions to help deter crime. – Have you enough staff working, to cope with the extra influx of customers? – Have all staff received sufficient training in theft prevention and know what to do, in the event that a theft is discovered? – Are there clear lines of sight throughout the shop, to enable alert staff to spot potential thieves? – Are the higher value goods within the shop more secure and under surveillance by CCTV cameras? Sergeant Downey said high value goods should not be stored …

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Lots of love from Santa

Dear children, I’m delighted that you sent so many lovely letters to The Clare Champion to pass on to me. I know County Clare very well; it’s one of my favourite places in the world and sometimes, if my reindeer get tired, I land my sleigh at Shannon Airport to give them a well-earned rest. It is wonderful to read that all of you understand how important it is to care about others and have reminded me to bring presents for your younger brothers and sisters or other family members. I’ve gone down through my naughty and nice lists and see that all the Clare children have been very good. At the moment, the elves are very busy loading the sleigh with gifts for children all over the world. It’s a lot of weight for the reindeer to pull, even if they do fly through the night sky, but don’t worry, I’ve yet to fail to make the magical journey from …

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The great Christmas tree throwing championship

The countdown has begun to the Irish Christmas Tree Throwing Championship, which takes place at Active Ennis Tim Smyth Park in Ennis on Sunday, January 4. All proceeds raised by the fourth annual event will go towards ISPCC Childline. The championship, which is based on age-old lumberjack traditions and is commonplace across Germany and Austria, will see members of the public competing to achieve the longest distance for throwing a standard 1.5 metre tree. John O’Dea from Limerick and Gary O’Growney from Dublin share the Irish record having both thrown their trees a distance of 10.2 metres, which is just under 2 metres short of the World Record currently held by Klaus Pubnaz, who hurled a tree a distance of 12 metres at an event in Germany four years ago. Last year’s U-12 section was won by Soran Drayas (9.2m), who finished ahead of second placed Aoife O’Gara (7.86 m). This year’s winner will once again receive the Irish Christmas …

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