OVER the past number of years, the Christmas concert in Newcastle West organised by the local Lions Club has become a much-loved tradition marking the start of the festive season itself in the locality.
And this year promises to deliver the same happy experience once again when singer Red Hurley is the headline act.
The concert takes place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Newcastle West on Sunday, December 6 and Red Hurley will be joined in the line-up by the Limerick-based Unity Gospel Choir.
“With such a line-up we can look forward to some beautiful seasonal music,” Joan Whelan, speaking on behalf of the Lions Club, told the Limerick Leader. She added that a particular recording by Red Hurley of the sacred song “How great thou art” had generated the single biggest ever response to a song on a recent BBC programme hosted by Terry Wogan.
“Year on year this concert has been a very enjoyable part of the Christmas festivities in the area while also being a vital fundraiser to help those in our community who may need financial or practical assistance,” Ms Whelan added.
“The Christmas concert is our single biggest fundraiser,” she continued, although the Lions Club also organises a flag day and church gate collections and there are also individual donations. The funds, she explained, can be used in individual cases or to help out other organisations in the area. Funds also go to help pay for essential repairs or to assist people to pay the costs of getting to hospital. The Lions Club also supplements breaks for people in need, Ms Whelan added.
Tickets for the Christmas concert must be bought in advance, she stressed, as no tickets can be sold at the church door. They can be bought at Tony Hayes’ shop in the Square, or from Lions Club members and cost €25.
This year, once again, the Lions Club is organising a Santa’s Grotto in Newcastle West on December 12.
“The motto of the club is “We serve” and the Santa visit began because we just wanted to bring a bit of Christmas festive cheer to the town, at a time when it was lacking,” Ms Whelan explained. “It is about community.”
But a crucial element of the event is that it is affordable for families, she added. In Newcastle West, it will cost €10 for the first child in a family and €5 for each subsequent child.
The charge includes a gift as well as a photograph but all visits must be prebooked, either through The Home Office Shop on Church Street or by ringing 069-78847. The event will run from 10am to 5pm in Bridge Street.