Cllr Sarah Kiely's coffee morning takes place next Thursday | Picture: Conor McCabe
A LIMERICK councillor is to host a drive-thru coffee morning next week to raise money for Milford Hospice.
For the last three years, City East member Sarah Kiely has hosted a fundraising event like this for the well-loved Limerick charity, which provided comfort to her late husband Damien O'Shaughnessy in his dying days as he battled cancer.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, with the need to social distance, Cllr Kiely asked people to come in their cars and make donations through their car windows.
With the easing of restrictions last year, her September coffee morning reverted to a more traditional outdoor event.
But because the drive-thru option raised more for Milford, Cllr Kiely is going back to the future, and will again ask people to drive-in next Thursday, September 22.
It's all taking place as part of the Bewley's Big Coffee Morning Social.
The nationwide event, which has raised over €41.5 million since its inception, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Hosting a coffee morning like this is always an emotional time for the former metropolitan district leader, given it was Milford Hospice who looked after Damien in 2018.
She explains how she was told by doctors to gather her family from Janesboro and go up to Dublin to see her husband for the final time as he declined.
However, she pushed, and managed to secure a bed in Milford Hospice.
"I was very, very lucky to get a bed in Milford Hospice. It meant Damien was able to spend his last few days in his home county and close to those who were his world," Cllr Kiely added.
She admits it was very traumatic for her children Tiernan and Emily - who were just 13 and 17 at the time - having to learn about the work that Milford Hospice does.
"I had to explain to them what a Hospice was and that they were going to have to say their final farewell to their dad,” explained Cllr Kiely, "But every second of those days, the staff at the hospice were phenomenal and were there to act as a buffer zone for everything. They treat the person and not the illness and they take care of everything so families can concentrate on spending the final moments with their loved one."
Sadly, Milford Hospice was called upon to help her family again just a year later, providing palliative care to her mother Aileen.
In 2020, as Covid-19 hit, Cllr Kiely took to Facebook to hold live cooking sessions.
"I worked as a chef for years so I decided for the craic to do a Facebook Live cook-along baking school each day at 5.00pm when I baked brownies, scones and other pastries," she said, "People loved it and often asked me again for the recipes so I realised that I could put my baking skills and as well as the talents of all those who baked online with me to good use."
It was off the back of this she held her first coffee morning.
For more information on the event, call Cllr Kiely at 085 7836257, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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