When Limavady’s Lucille Brolly first offered her cosy café as a meeting place for volunteers involved with Marie Curie Cancer Care she never imagined 20 years on she would be at the forefront of the charity’s fundraising campaign.
Since she joined the group with local nurse Siobhan Farquharson, the soon-to-be 65-year-old businesswoman has helped the Roe Valley Friends of Marie Curie raise thousands of pounds through countless events including charity balls, afternoon teas, cycles and street collections.
She has also gone to great lengths, literally - trekking through Jordan last year and breaking her wrist in the process - to help raise vital funds.
“I do it because there is no family nowadays that hasn’t been touched by cancer. We all know someone - a family member, friends, loved ones - who have been touched by it. The money raised by Marie Curie goes towards care in the home that is vital. We just wish we could do more,” she said.
There was a time when Lucille wanted to give up the commitment, but was spurred on by her son James who was treasurer.
“That was about six years ago and it felt like we were just a group of people meeting up. There was no real buzz about us,” she said.
She says the role of SDLP councillor Michael Coyle when he was mayor was a major motivation.
“Michael became mayor and he had lost his wife Mary and he had taken on Marie Curie as his charity that year and that gave us so much heart. He was so good to us.”
Alderman Coyle explained why he decided to support Marie Curie.
“Mary, during her illness, and I used Marie Curie services which was a great comfort to the family and because of that it gave me an insight to what Marie Curie does at a local ad practical level. It was then I decided to support Marie Curie and Lucille Brolly was Marie Curie in the Limavady area.”
The recent trek to Jordan with daughter Julie and sister Donna Canning in late October last year brought home to Lucille just how worthwhile the work of the Roe Valley group is.
“When we went away we heard so many stories about we make a difference. That makes it so worthwhile. When you hear all those experiences, you can’t help but be involved. Like I say, we just wish we could do more.”
This year, the group has a full calendar of events lined up starting with a Jordanian night on Saturday, 19th February at the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady. The night will feature Jordanian food and ceilidh dancing and will start at 7.30pm until 10.30pm.
To find out more about volunteering, events coming up this year call Lucille at 77768180.