Smyth family raise £53K for cancer charity

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A family who have organised an annual charity barn dance outside Dungiven have raised more than £50,000 in recent years.

Organised by Andy Smyth and his family, in aid of Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, their most recent dance raised £13,600 on the night, with £53,920 raised in the last five years.

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation) will use the money raised to fund cutting-edge research and help support families in the local area who are coping with cancer.

Mr. Smyth says while a lot of effort goes into organising the event from family and friends it’s extremely worthwhile.

Dorothy Thompson, Chair of the Claudy Cancer Focus Group said: “Our local Cancer Focus group is delighted to work with Andy Smyth and his family at the Annual Barn Dances and happy to assist with the finances at the event. The money raised from local events like this is so important to help ensure that Cancer Focus can continue with its good work in our community.”

Sylvia Lucy, Community Fundraising Manager, Cancer Focus said: “We would like to say a big thank you to Andy and his family for the months of hard work and preparation that goes in to organising an event like this – right from the sheds being cleaned and prepared through to erecting staging and booking the acts.

“Sean Millar must be thanked for his western themed bars and for his very generous donation from the bar takings, to Marlene’s Diner for keeping the folk happy with delicious takeaway food, and to Timmy Burn for donating the use of the Rodeo Bull which was very well received!”

The annual barn dance is held on the first Saturday in June and attracts Ireland’s top Country and Western Stars such as Mike Denver who was the star attraction at this year’s dance. Local artists Shauna McStravock, Luke Bell and DJ Stephen Doherty were also performing.

The 2014 event is already planned for 7th June 2014 with Richie Remo and his Big Band and Joe Moore lined up.

Cancer Focus provides a wide range of lifeline services to help families affected by cancer, including cancer support groups, free helpline, counselling service, bra-fitting service for women who have had breast cancer surgery and family support services, as well as a range of therapeutic and complementary services. The charity also invests in research and delivers cancer prevention projects in schools, community venues and workplaces.