MARY Whoriskey’s charitable endeavours have been recognised with a Gala Retail Inspiration Award.
The Whoriskey family has been lighting up Kerrykeel with their Christmas lights display for 17 years.
Since the switch was first thrown the impressive illuminations have raised an incredible €94,000 for charities including Letterkenny Breast Care Unit, Friends of the Hospital, the Acquired Brain Injury Unit and the Irish Kidney Foundation. Donations have also been passed on to Fanad and Rathmullan Day Centres, Donegal Hospice and Pieta North West.
Last year was the most successful year to date with a cheque for €18,100 presented to children’s ambulance service Bumbleance.
And set to benefit this year is Donegal Down Syndrome Association.
This week though it was Mary who was beaming rather than the countless Santas, elves, reindeer and crib that adorn the outside of her home.
She was nominated in the summer by Fergus McAteer for the Gala inspiration award and was informed this week that she had won it.
“I was contacted a couple of months ago by Fergus who said he wanted to nominate me and I said go ahead,” Mary told the Donegal News.
“It’s a bit like buying a ticket, you tend to forget about these things. But then I got the call to say I had won which was lovely.”
Mary travelled to the Gala store in Ballybofey to receive her prize of a hotel voucher worth €1,000.
The week turned into a double celebration though as husband Michael’s ticket was pulled out for the top prize of a vintage tractor in the Drumoghill FC Christmas draw.
Mary said, “Michael is really into vintage tractors and he’s always restoring things. They had a big tractor run for Donegal Down Syndrome and lo and behold I was at home when the phone rang to say he had won the fully restored Massey 35.
“He was delighted.”
Donations towards this year’s festive display started off strongly before being thwarted temporarily by the weather. Things are now back in full swing and the online page https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/WhoriskeysChristmasLights remains open until January 31.