Presentation of cheque at the Supermac's Plaza by Tipperary Vintage Rally to South Tipperary Hospice. Front row (l to r) Rosie Finnan, Ellie-Nora Armshaw, Frances O’Brien Chairperson Tipperary Vintage
Over the past 13 years there has been one group that has been constant in the Tipperary community for providing fun, entertainment and general merriment for young and old alike.
Aside from the fun element they have also been a great support to individual families and to the general community.
The group in question is Tipperary Vintage Rally, a voluntary group based in Tipperary Town which was founded in 2008 by Jack Leonard, Eddie Spenser and Steve Thornton.
The remarkable aspect of this group is that all of their efforts result in hundreds of thousands of euro being raised for charity and particularly for the South Tipperary Hospice Movement.
There has hardly been a community event or occasion in Tipperary over the last 13 years that has not featured the Tipperary Vintage Rally and the innovative nature of their efforts is something that has been a highlight for all of the community. Group representative Stevie O’Donnell told me about their main yearly event (pre-Covid).
Ellie Nora and Geraldine Armshaw, Cappawhite, pictured with Jack Leonard of the Tipperary Vintage Rally at the presentation of the cheque to South Tipperary Hospice. The Armshaw family supported the fundraising activities
"Our main hospice fundraiser has taken place every Easter weekend commencing with a Honda 50 Bike Trip through Tipp taking in many villages and towns throughout the county of Tipperary.
"On Easter Sunday we have had a major exhibition of classic and vintage vehicles at the Tipperary Town Plaza. This was not just a car and tractor rally but a fun family day out catering for young and old alike which turned into a holiday weekend for many. We are looking forward to returning to this annual event once this pandemic is over."
Since Covid restrictions were introduced the group has been active in reaching out to vulnerable people in rural areas with deliveries of food, medicine and other essentials. Members have also been active with the Tipperary Town Meals on Wheels and with Tipperary Mid-West Radio in providing support and assistance during the pandemic.
It is notable that the work of the Tipperary Vintage Rally members has extended into many different areas as Stevie explains.
“Some of the work that our members are engaged in include providing assistance to families bereaved by cancer. Through our association with South Tipperary Hospice Movement many of the committee members assist with traffic management and provide generated powered lights at the home of the deceased.
"The group also provides many experienced stewards at the Tipperary Town festival every July and they are the backbone of the All-Ireland Churn Rolling Championships which are held yearly in conjunction with the Tipperary Festival. One of the really special moments in the year for the town and surrounding areas is the visit at Christmas of the Tipperary Vintage Rally’s “Santa Express”.
"Designed by Jack Leonard and assisted by a number of technical volunteers, the specially designed sleigh was a big hit with children and adults alike. Stevie says that because of Covid restrictions a special effort was made by the members last Christmas."
Jack Leonard, Tipperary Vintage Rally making a presentation to Paudie Byrne, Retail Area Manager, Supermacs Tipperary, in appreciation of the support shown by him for the activities of the group.
In the build up to Christmas and despite all the restrictions the Vintage Rally was able to continue with their fundraising efforts.
On Saturday, February 20, Frances O’Brien, Chairperson of Tipperary Village Rally, presented a cheque for €2,133.76 to Aisling Fanning from South Tipperary Hospice, as the amount raised from their fundraising efforts in local communities during Christmas 2020.
As every cent donated from their fundraising efforts goes directly to South Tipperary Hospice Movement it is remarkable that the total raised to date is in excess of €200,000.
At the presentation, Aisling said: "We are so grateful to Tipperary Vintage Rally for everything that they have done to raise much needed funds for South Tipperary Hospice.
"As you know for our hospice service every euro counts, and the €200,000 raised since the committee was formed, is quite a phenomenal amount of money. The work that they do and the subsequent funding realised from their events is really appreciated by us and all who avail of our services.
“South Tipperary Hospice are trying very hard to run the service as normal as due to the current situation with Covid many patients are deciding to remain at home for end of life palliative care.”