Milestone for Santa’s Pony Parade

Jill Moffat and Max pictured at the Parade.
Jill Moffat and Max pictured at the Parade.

A local woman has reached the first milestone in her plan to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease research.

Roisin McGinn, who has organised fundraisers for the charity several times a year since 2010, pushed her total over £10,000 with the help of the 5th Annual Santa’s Pony Parade in Ballycastle. The annual event has also raised over £1,000 for Rett Syndrome Ireland since 2015. Rett Syndrome is also a much neglected and underfunded disease that affects little girls.

Santas elves and Ginger at the Ballycastle Parade.

Santas elves and Ginger at the Ballycastle Parade.

“The key thing for me is that these are diseases with absolutely no treatment options. They are life-limiting and very cruel,” said Roisin. “They get so little public funding – once you get a diagnosis such as MND or Rett there’s never the hope of a drug that will stop progression. It’s devastating. What spurs me on is the emails and letters I receive and stories I hear telling me how much it means to people affected that they are given a wee moment of recognition. That makes it all worthwhile. That’s why I do it.”

Nicole McGinn, Karenann Toney, Esther Mulholland and friends helped organise Santa’s Pony Parade and several other MND fundraisers over the years.

“I’m always touched by everyone’s kindness – for a relatively small community Ballycastle gives back a lot. Reaching this milestone deserves a big thank you to everyone who has ever donated and attended the events,” said Roisin.

Eoin McHenry completed the ‘Sober for October’ challenge to raise funds for the charities and the 5th Annual Santa’s Pony Parade. “It was a very difficult and took months of physical training and mental preparation,’ joked Eoin. ‘Niall McKeague down in the Harbour had to take out his Harp tap for the month, right enough. Seriously though, thanks to everyone who donated. I know how much this means to Roisin and was happy to help but maybe we’ll have to think of something different to do for next year.”

Festively dressed ponies and handlers pictured at the Pony Parade in Ballycastle.

Festively dressed ponies and handlers pictured at the Pony Parade in Ballycastle.

Santa’s Pony Parade attracted dozens of horses and riders to the town on Saturday, December 3 with many more spectators lining the streets to get a glimpse of the festively dressed equines and owners. Children were invited to meet Ginger of Rainbow Pony Parties and whisper their Christmas wishes in his ear. A light lunch was provided in the Mayor’s Parlour, Sheskburn (by kind permission of Mayor Maura Hickey) for all participants courtesy of Mairead McVeigh, Jennifer Walsh and the McShane family.

Thanks also to Jake Patterson and Danielle Brown for providing entertainment, Ursa Minor Bakery for the cookies, Karenann and the Toney family and Shauna McFall for all their help.

The current total raised from the event is £1,250 and the final amount will be published in the New Year. This year’s parade was in memory of MND angel, Sheelagh, and was led by her cousin Jill on horse, Max.