An annual front-garden Hallowe’en display in Newry that has been fundraising for six years has been extended to the weekend to help boost support for two worthwhile local charities.
David and Paula Loughran have been decorating their garden, at 1 Pound Street, for charity every Hallowe’en for the past six years.
Every year they have raised money for Sound Friends, a charity supporting the families of deaf children.
It’s a charity close to David and Paula’s hearts, as they were helped greatly by Sound Friends when their daughter Sarah-Louise was diagnosed with severe hearing loss seven years ago at the age of three.
This year, alongside Sound Friends, the Loughrans have also been raising money for Newry-based charity The Road Ahead Support Group, which was set up by local families who had lost relatives to devastating road-traffic collisions.
Until Sunday, the display will be open for visitors, with donation boxes for the fundraiser available in the garden. You can also make a donation using JustGiving.
Speaking to Armagh I, Paula explained: “We decorated the garden anyway on Hallowe’en for our own children, but a lot of people called to say that we should do it for charity.
“The following year we decided that we would because our daughter had been diagnosed with severe hearing loss and we got involved with a charity called Sound Friends. They were really good to us so we decorated the garden for them, which was a great success.
“Every year we just add more and more to the display. It’s good craic, especially on Hallowe’en night!”
Since its inception, the aim of the display has been to support locally-based charities, with the Southern Area Hospice, PIPS and Life & Time among the organisations having benefitted.
It’s always been a success too, with over £6,000 raised one year!
“It’s good that it’s going back into the community and you know where the money is. The money is going to benefit somebody and that’s the main thing,” Paula added.
Naturally, Hallowe’en night was a big night for the display with cars lining the streets to view the spooky goings-on.
Said Paula: “Last night was really good because we had a few hours that were dry, so trick-or-treaters came from everywhere. We had a great response.
“On Hallowe’en night we all go into character, so my husband, myself, my mummy and the children all dress up and we pretend we’re part of the display and we scare people. It’s a great laugh!”
She added: “Last night when the weather was good the house was absolutely packed for a solid three hours.
“You do get a lot of regulars every year but this year we’ve had people from Dundalk and Kilkeel!”
Despite being set up every year, organising the display is by no means an easy feat, taking around five weeks to get up and running.
“We buy a lot of stuff but my husband’s very hands on, so he makes a lot of it. Normally he starts in September, so it’s ready to go about two weeks before Hallowe’en,” she explained.
“It gives people a good chance to come and have a look at it.”
With the display coming to a close on Sunday, Paula hopes that there will be a final push of support to help the two very worthwhile local charities.
She added: “They supported us when we needed them. When we were brought into the world of deafness it was a big shock for us, so it was good to get contact and support from people.
“They’re a small enough charity and sometimes it’s hard to get funding, so they’re more than happy with it.”
You can visit the Hallowe’en display at 1 Pound Hill, Newry. Donations can be made at the display or on JustGiving.