A SPECIAL Christmas tree has been erected in Limerick city centre to remember deceased loved ones, which will help raise funds for a handful of local charities.
For the fifth year in a row, Limerick Thomond Rotary Club are hosting their annual Tree of Remembrance on Bedford Row, in association with the local authority’s Christmas tree project.
People can donate to the project’s three charities - Cuan Mhuire, Lisnagry Special Olympics and Pieta House - and write the names of loved ones on yellow ribbons, which are placed on the tree.
According to Limerick Thomond Rotary Club member, Brian O’Connell, the ribbons will be brought to a remembrance mass on Monday, December 23, at 4pm at the Augustinian Church, O’Connell Street.
The member said there has been great support from local volunteers, especially from students who are working to achieve the bronze and silver President’s Gaisce Award.
“Five years ago, we had to spend some time explaining to people what we were about and what we were trying to do, but now people who stop by know what it’s all about. We have tremendous support from students from Coláiste Chiarán.”
Mr O’Connell said the locals have been “generous” in this year’s project.
“In the past few years, we have managed to raise between €3,000 to €4,000 for charities. We don’t have the same charities every year - we vary it up. It brings a bit of joy, I think, and the contributions are completely voluntary, as well. You can put whatever you want in the box, but people have been really generous this year.
“But you can get very emotional scenes, where you have someone who has lost a spouse and they would break down just thinking about them,” he explained.
Susan Kelly, of Lisnagry Special Olympics, said they hope to raise enough funds to make a successful Special Olympics campaign when the competition comes to University of Limerick.
“We have got 21 athletes to send to the competition in UL, and each will cost around €900 to enter. Hopefully, this year’s remembrance tree will help us.”
Mr O’Connell said he was surprised to talk to a diversity of non-nationals, including people from Libya and Afghanistan, in Limerick when last year’s remembrance tree was erected.