It was like Disneyland without the budget

A FAMILY trip to Disneyland, Paris in early December sowed the seeds for the Light Up Letterkenny Christmas Tour.
The event, which involved more than two hundred vehicles, raised €4,500 for the Donegal Hospice. Yesterday, a cheque was presented to the Hospice by organisers Bernard Gallagher, CBM Signs, and Craig Alcorn, Tropical World.
The idea for the Light Up Letterkenny Christmas Tour had initially being floated by Craig Alcorn after he bought a fully functional Fire Engine Truck to be used next year in Tropical World in Letterkenny as an attraction.
He spoke with Bernard Gallagher who had just purchased a new Massey tractor.
However, plans to match the efforts of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in Letterkenny were only put in motion after Bernard and his wife Emma took their three young children Clodagh, Olivia and baby Cillian to Paris.
“The kids were amazed by a simple Christmas parade and the crowds while we were especially taken by the Christmas cheer it gave to the children who have missed so much with Covid restrictions,” he explained.
A few texts to Craig with a proposed route around the town up to the Mountain Top and back down past the hospital followed before a date was confirmed, via Facebook, from Disneyland.
The charity proved to be an easy choice as Bernard’s late grand-mother Margaret McCallion, Ballyraine, passed away in The Donegal Hospice on Good Friday 2018 while Craig’s mum also works there and knows all about their good work.
With only 10 days to go and in the shadow of Christmas and ever worsening Covid restrictions Bernard wasn’t getting much of a response or indication of numbers.
“We were doing this for the craic and the children as a once off to pass an evening so I wasn’t too concerned either way,” he admitted.
He had no reason to worry as 90 tractors, 90 cars – a mix of boy racers, classics and show cars – 20 lorries, six buses and a motor bike – rolled up with Alcorn’s Fire truck leading the way.
“We were delighted to see crowds along the route and with registrations and public donations we managed to raise €4,500.
“A big thanks to the men and women (nearly half of the tractors were driven by farmerettes) that took the time to get their machines ready. Thanks also to Anne Marie Bonnar, our neighbouring businesses, that let us use their car parks along the Joe Bonnar Road and The Boal family for letting us have the regroup at the Pine Hill industrial Park. A big thanks also to the Gardai who were supportive on the night mad.
“It was a brilliant evening’s craic for all the family just like Disneyland with none of the budget,” he laughed.
The Light Up Letterkenny Christmas Tour was to be a one off but with the success of the event it might yet become an annual event.
“We’ll see. It’s a long way until Christmas 2022,” he smiled.

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