THOUSANDS of pounds was raised over Halloween at a Donaghadee pumpkin patch to fund mobility treatments for children.
Volunteers from the Gaitway organisation, a charity which helps children and young people, aged two to 25, living with mobility issues, mostly stemming from neurological conditions, sold a plethora of ghoulish goods at the pumpkin patch stalls during the event.
The pumpkin fair took place at Flavour First, in Donaghadee, which opted to support Gaitway as its charity of choice and enabled the fundraising every weekend since October 14.
On the final day of the harvesting event, Flavour First offered the charity all of their ticket sale profit from that day, bolstering the funding for their much needed mobility therapies for their clients.
Gaitway is not funded and largely relies on donations and fundraising. Some of this is invested into the specialist treatment the charity offers clients at a greatly reduced cost for parents.
During the school half terms and summer breaks, therapists from Semmelweis University in Hungary come to help the children. These medics are trained in holistic mobility therapies not taught in the UK.
While also utilising massages and exercises, they engage in what is referred to as ‘conductive education’. This uses music and rhythm to prompt the young patients, in hopes of repairing damaged nerves and fire up new ones, greatly improving their mobility. They also take their young clients on social outings.
Overseeing a large portion of this fundraising event is Donaghadee woman, Coirle Butler, who is also one of the directors of the charity.
“Over the summer, we brought the Gaitway children to the sunflower farm, which is also at Flavour First and they loved it,” said Coirle.
“I live near the farm and the owners asked me if we would like to be their chosen charity partners for their pumpkin patch.
“So myself, and the other committee members, made a decision that we would be delighted to accept their kind offer.
“For the stalls, we had a supporter who has made doggy bandanas and decorations for Halloween pumpkins. We had little knitted purses and our supporters also made treat bags. There were bags of sweets, lots of homemade cookies, tray bakes and cupcakes,” she adds.