Cherry Orchard FC brings Christmas magic to Our Lady's

By Aura McMenamin

Cherry Orchard FC brought Christmas magic to the wards of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin last weekend, bringing presents to children staying in the hospital.

The Ballyfermot club came together on Saturday to light up the children’s faces following a successful fundraiser for dozens of presents for children of all ages.

 cherry Orchard FC collage

Organiser and part of the Senior Sunday management, Ross Murray, spoke to The Echo about how he came up with the idea.

According to Ross, a friend of Cherry Orchard FC manager Declan Hevey had a child in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin. Ross, a supplies manager in Crumlin Hospital offered to bring the child a balloon to cheer them up. Inspired by the joy the simple gesture had brought their friend’s child, Ross decided to bring the same joy to children across five wards in the hospital.

He began a collection in the club, asking players to donate what they could to his toy drive.

Receiving help from the committee and club management, Ross raised up to €760. Ross said, “I was only expecting around €200. It exceeded my expectations.”

From there, Ross set forth to buy presents for the children in Crumlin hospital.

He said: “I had about three trolleys full of toys. I was able to buy 65 presents. Wrapping them all was the hardest part, but I got the missus, Roisín, and my mother Bernie to help.”

Ross also thanked Robbie and Antoinette Stapleton, parents of Saturday player Darren Stapleton for donating gifts.

On Saturday, Ross was joined by Cherry Orchard FC management, nine players and Ross’ friend Lisa Smith who were brought by the clinical nurse manager to the hospital’s various wards to visit the children, including St John’s cancer ward and the cardiac unit.

“The reaction from the kids  was just magical. Every child we gave a present to had a great reaction. It was very inspiring.”

Ross added: “For the teenagers, we brought them One4all vouchers. I had a chat with one teenager who had cancer, and told him that if we had the courage they have, and the fight, we would be proud.”

Ross said that visiting the cardiac unit was special for him, having lost his aunt in April after she suffered a heart attack and dubbed the ward visit, the ‘Anne Murray Memorial Ward Walk’ in memory of his late aunt.

Given the success of Saturday’s ward walk, Ross said that he and the club hope to make the fundraiser an annual event.

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