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Markethill friends to take leap of faith to give back to Southern Hospice

"We had a joke in class about who was going to scream the loudest. They can tell we're nervous about it!"

Three Markethill friends are set to take a leap of faith from 15,000 feet as their way of giving back to the Southern Area Hospice.

Lauren Freeburn, Tyrone Graham and Alanna Maguire, who are all part of a drama group with the Mid Armagh Community Network, will be taking the plunge on May 27, hoping to reach the lofty goal of £1,680 raised for the Hospice.

In a bid to boost their fundraising, they will be hosting a coffee morning and raffle this Saturday (April 29) from 9am until 12noon, in Markethill Masonic Hall.

And local businesses have chipped in “more than we could ever expect”, with a long list of donors contributing, including, Basil Shields Oil, Alexanders of Markethill, the Dolphin Takeaway, Dalzell’s of Markethill and Bawn Meats.

Lauren, who started work in the finance department of the Hospice around a year ago, says that she witnessed at first hand the amazing work that they do.

Speaking to Armagh I, she said: “When I first started I didn’t know how much they did then I realised the amount that they put into it every day.

“The Hospice has been a big part of my family because, when my uncle Robbie was sick with cancer, they really helped out a lot.”

Lauren explained that it was one phone call with a lady that had lost her husband that made her decide she wanted to contribute to the Hospice.

“She was crying on the phone to me and she said the Hospice were amazing and they did everything they could even after her husband died. After that phone call I just thought I really wished I could give something back.

“I’ve always been a wee bit adventurous so I thought I’d love to do something that’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

Following a suggestion to do a skydive, Lauren decided she would ask Tyrone and Alanna, assistants at the drama group, to be part of what would be a day to remember.

“I started the drama class last year to bring confidence back into kids who had missed the social aspects during Covid,” she explained.

“We could prove to the kids that we’re working with that even if you’re nervous or afraid, as long as you put your mind to it you could do it. We just said let’s do it.”

“We had a joke in class about who was going to scream the loudest. They can tell we’re nervous about it!”

Lauren added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the businesses that have donated to our raffle. We’re only about £800 off target, which is £1,680.

“I can’t think of a better cause than the Hospice because I witness every day the good work they do. We all know that even if it’s not helping our family members at the minute it could help someone else’s family.

“Most of us are afraid to go on funfair rides, so I’m actually really surprised we’ve all agreed to do this. We like to put on a brave face but I’m not going to lie, we are really, really nervous.

“We’re going to have to play rock paper scissors because none of us want to be the first to jump!”

You can donate to the appeal here.

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