Here is a community story on how the wonderful community of Brannockstown came together to share the magic of Christmas but also to raise funds to support Barretstown.
Brannockstown Community Group brought a Live Nativity to the village on a perfect winter’s day in December. The organising group was made up of local people who had a desire to put on an event to bring the village together, to celebrate Christmas and to raise money for a local charity. A small team of about 6 planned the event, but we relied on family and friends to pull the event together. We were overwhelmed by the willingness and generosity of people, who donated their time and resources for free. At our first planning event we broached the subject of which charity to raise money for. Barretstown was the first suggestion, and to be honest we didn’t feel the need to consider any other ones. It was a unanimous agreement that Barretstown was our charity – not only is it right on the doorstep of our village, but Christmas is about children, love, fun and celebration which seemed, to us, to fit perfectly with the aims of Barretstown. We estimated that we might raise about E150, and even that felt ambitious at the start. We had never put on an event like this before and we weren’t sure if people would even turn up (especially if the weather was bad, as can happen in December)!
The day itself was a perfect winter’s day – cool and crisp. After a busy couple of days with set building, hall decorating, and light stringing, we had an amazing afternoon. A team of local people acting the parts of Mary and Joseph, the Wise Men, the Shepherds and the angel. We had help from a local set designer and a local drama teacher for the nativity scenes, and were very grateful to local farmers for the loan of alpacas, donkey, sheep and a calf. Without them the event would definitely have been lacking! The main idea was that the audience would journey through the different stages of the nativity story, using specially constructed sets in the carpark of the Baptist Church. Each scene was accompanied with a relevant Christmas hymn (e.g the Shepherds scene was signaled by “When Shepherd’s Watched their Flocks by Night”).
Across the afternoon, approximately 250 visitors had the opportunity to visit a craft market stocked with local crafts, listen to local musicians and have some warming refreshments. The kids were able to have their face painted and make a Christmas themed craft.
The event was completely free of charge, but Barretstown kindly provided buckets for donations. We positioned these across the site, and in particular at the exit gates. We were absolutely delighted with the way the community got behind the event to raise a tremendous amount for Barretstown. As a planning committee we are thankful that the money raised is going to help more children with serious illness and their families to experience the magic that Barretstown has to offer in 2018.