Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group to hold black tie gala

Mid Ulster Dementia support group volunteers
Mid Ulster Dementia support group volunteers

A special gala event will take place at the White River House Hotel on September 10 to raise funds for the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group.

Organised by Jacqueline McGonigle, the evening will include a red carpet drinks reception with canapes, along with a three-course meal, followed by light entertainment and a raffle.

With 100 tickets for the black-tie event already reserved, Jacqueline is hoping to sell 150 in total, and already has three corporate sponsors on board. These include Ground Espresso Bars, Crawfords Maghera and Ardboe Coldstore Ltd, while other local businesses have been donating raffle prizes and their services on the night.

“Alan Woods from MyWeddingDJ NI will be DJ-ing for us,” said Jacqueline. “White River House Hotel is sponsoring the chair covers and Hastings Hotels are providing the goodie bags. There’s also lots of great raffle prizes, such as beauty vouchers, handbags, Slimming World membership, music lessons and more, and you’ll be able to buy a professional photograph of yourself from Studio 82 Photography, who will be there on the night.”

The mother-of-three, who lives in Upperlands and runs her own business, whatsonni.com, has been supporting the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group since her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008.

“A friend then put me in touch with Ann Cardwell, facilitator and now chairperson of the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group,” she said. “I’d never heard of them before, but Ann rang me up and we arranged to meet.

“She had been through everything I was going through with her own mother. It was such a relief, just to talk to somebody who had been in that exact same situation and had gone through all the same emotions I’d gone through.”

Run by volunteers who have either previously cared for someone with Alzheimer’s, or are currently caring for someone, the Mid Ulster Dementia Support Group provides vital support for families throughout Mid Ulster.

They organise various fundraising events throughout the year, with the money used to finance grants for their sitting service, where someone comes in to care for a relative for a period of time.

“This gives carers a break as, mentally, it wears you down caring 24/7 for someone with Alzheimer’s, as well as physically,” said Jacqueline.

“The fundraising, for me, is also my way of coping with everything.

“I try to help people in the same situation as I find there isn’t a lot of support for the carers. Unless you’re in that situation, where it’s someone you know, it’s hard to understand.”