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Keady father backs auction in aid of Children's Heartbeat Trust

Sale aims to raise £50,000

Keady father backs auction in aid of Children's Heartbeat Trust

Hitting the hammer price for children's heart charity: Hampton Hewitt, Markethill Livestock Market, joins Grace Powell, Richard Powell, and Lynn Cowan, Children's Heartbeat Trust, at the launch of the

Gillian Halliday

Reporter:

Gillian Halliday

Email:

gillian.halliday@ulstergazette.co.uk

A  KEADY man whose young daughter suffers from a heart condition has teamed up with Markethill Livestock Market to help raise £50,000 for a vital piece of medical equipment for children.
Richard Powell came up with the idea to boost a campaign by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust to install an echocardiogram machine at the new Children’s Heart Centre, which currently being developed at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. 
His daughter, Grace, now eight years old, underwent surgical procedures at just three and six months of age after being diagnosed with congential heart disease (CHD). Grace then had major heart surgery at the age of five.
Over the past six years, Richard – through his family business, WK Powell & Son – has helped raise funds for the trust by holding charity cattle auctions. This year, however, he wanted to do more and so teamed up with Markethill Livestock to hold a Christmas Show and Sale, on Thursday, November 23 at 7pm, where beef cattle, prime lambs and an auction of donated items will be up for grabs.
Richard has already pledged the first auction prize, on behalf of all who have supported his family business in Keady by generously donating a Charolais heifer.  He has also donated a heifer for a second charity auction for the trust to be held at Ballymena Livestock Mart, supported by Gleno Young Farmers, on Thursday, November 30 at 6.30pm.
“The Children’s Heartbeat Trust has given our family so much support and help since Grace was born, and throughout her surgeries and treatment,” he explained. “We’ve helped raise funds each year through the sale of various cattle but on hearing about the development of the new Children’s Heart Centre, we wanted to do that bit more.
“I approached Hampton at Markethill Mart with the idea of holding an auction to raise additional funds for the charity. Hampton came back with the suggestion of teaming with Shaun from Ballymena Mart to raise the target of £50,000. I would sincerely like to thank Hampton for his full input and backing; and to Shaun for teaming up with us to raise the fund needs for this vital piece of equipment.
“Adrian Cassidy, a friend has also got behind our fundraising by running the Dublin Marathon to raise funds towards our target. I’m grateful for the generous support received to date and with everyone’s input I have no doubt our target can be achieved.”
The Children’s Heartbeat Trust been involved in the development of the Children’s Heart Centre – which will provide specialised care for young people living with heart disease – since it’s conception, and says that the funding of this new piece of equipment is “crucial in ensuring that heart children are receiving the best quality treatment possible”.
Lynn Cowan, Children’s Heartbeat Trust fundraiser, explained; “The new Children’s Heart Centre will be a dedicated centre for children with CHD right across Northern Ireland, and will help ensure that they receive the best possible care. We are indebted to Richard along with both Ballymena and Markethill livestock markets and Gleno Young Farmers for their incredible support in funding the new echocardiogram machine - an absolutely vital piece of equipment for all cardiac children.
“Richard and his family have been so incredibly supportive of the charity’s work, and we are deeply grateful to the markets for joining with Richard to facilitate the auctions, and everyone who has donated auction items.”
Meanwhile. Hampton Hewitt from Markethill Livestock Market, said: “Our annual charity Christmas Show and Sale has been going for four years and is becoming more and more popular. When Richard approached me with the idea of helping Children’s Heartbeat Trust purchase equipment for the Children’s Heart Centre, the answer was clear. Knowing that it will help hundreds of local children like Grace, makes it an important cause for us.
“We know how generous the farming community is with donating livestock, equipment and feed for the auction, but to make it bigger this year we have teamed up with Ballymena Livestock Market and look forward to a successful fundraising campaign with the backing of the local farming community.”
An online donation page has been set up for anyone wishing to support this event. Please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LivestockAuctions. Further information can be found on the Markethill Livestock and Ballymena Livestock Facebook pages or by visiting www.childrensheartbeattrust.org.

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