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Ecumenical Christmas Carol Service

The Relay for Life Donegal 2014 Committee held their inaugural Ecumenical Christmas Carol Service on Sunday 8th December at the Church of the Irish Martyrs.

Celebrants were Fr. Brian Quinn, Canon Stewart Wright and Fr. Eamonn Mc Laughlin.  Five beautiful choirs performed – The Colmcille Gospel Choir, The Blue Ribbon Choir, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal Choir, The Amici Choir and The Survivors Choir.  The choirs were accompanied by Mark Bradley, Margaret McAteer and Brighdin Carr, with Scripture being read by Victoria Wilson and Jason Friel.

Robert O Connor (Relay Chairman) was the first of the speakers to address the congregation.  Robert highlighted that he hadn’t planned to speak at the service but decided to when the Carol Service took on a new meaning – “a new meaning for all of our great Relay family”. Robert stated that “we believe cancer patients involved in Relay are never alone from the friendships they make by being part of our truly great Relay family”.

It was with great sadness that Robert informed everyone that at 3:15 a.m. on Saturday morning “one of Relays most respected and committed Relayers lost her life to cancer; that lady was Aileen Buckley.”  Her husband Colm was the Joint Chair for Survivors/Caregivers in 2013. The beautiful service was dedicated to them both.

Donal Kavanagh (Survivor), Cynthia Fuery (Volunteer), Hazel Russell (Survivor and Team member Highland Radio), Bernie Gallagher (Survivor), Seamus Mc Gee (Entertainer), Anthony Delap (Survivors Choir Member) and Siobhan Diver (Relay Committee and Carer) delivered moving messages as to why they Relay.

Hazel Russell summed up Relay when she informed the congregation “honestly, you have to be at a Relay event to fully appreciate the whole value of Relay, the celebrations, the tears, the highs and lows, the emotions, the friends, the atmosphere; the whole thing from start to finish is unbelievable!”

Seamus Mc Gee explained that he got involved with Relay for Life Donegal “for many personal reasons but I am proud to stand here today representing the Entertainers who play an important role throughout the 24 hours”.  Seamus also stated that “Relay for Life is more than just an event – it is an experience; an experience where we receive unlimited support, even from total strangers!”

Anthony Delap explained that when he was young “the word cancer wasn’t even whispered.  It was too frightening a word to say aloud”.  He stated that “if someone was diagnosed with this dreadful disease that it was considered to be a life sentence”.  Thankfully however “years of tireless work and research by dedicated doctors and scientists have not only eased the pain and suffering of those who are terminally ill but have also greatly increased the chances of survival of many others.  I should know because I am one of them”.

Mixed emotions were experienced as joyful music was sung and sad and joyful stories were shared amongst the congregation.

The Relay committee would like to thank all those who contributed so generously to the collection. Over €1600 was raised for St. Vincent De Paul and Conwal Parish Church Building Fund.  The committee would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the celebrants, Fr. Brian Quinn for the use of the church, the sacristan, the choirs, Organists, the speakers, the scripture readers and all those who attended, for making the Carol Service the fantastic and memorable service it was.

An information night for those interested in participating in Relay for Life 2014 will be held at The Mount Errigal Hotel on Monday the 13th January 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Fr. Eamonn Mc Laughlin, Canon Stewart Wright and Fr. Brian Quinn.

Fr. Eamonn Mc Laughlin, Canon Stewart Wright and Fr. Brian Quinn.

Siobhan Diver (Relay Committee Member) with Jason Friel (narrator & musician) in background.

Siobhan Diver (Relay Committee Member) with Jason Friel (narrator & musician) in background.

Hazel Russell delivering her Relay message with Celebrants (to right) and Victoria Wilson, narrator (to left).

Hazel Russell delivering her Relay message with Celebrants (to right) and Victoria Wilson, narrator (to left).

Anthony Delap captivates the audience with his moving Relay message.

Anthony Delap captivates the audience with his moving Relay message.

Donal Kavanagh (Survivor's Choir Member) explaining why he Relays.

Donal Kavanagh (Survivor’s Choir Member) explaining why he Relays.

Date posted: January 11, 2014