Fundraisers for counselling service

Hugh Simpson-Callaghan who passed away in 2011.
Hugh Simpson-Callaghan who passed away in 2011.

The family of an eight-year-old boy who passed away in 2011 have launched a fundraising campaign for a children’s counselling service to be extended into Carndonagh.

Hugh Simpson-Callaghan died suddenly in his Gleneely home as a result of an undiagnosed Thymus tumour, an extremely rare form of cancer.

Following Hugh’s death, his mum Leeann, who is originally from Derry, searched for counselling services for her other children on both sides of the border.

“I couldn’t find any counselling services for five to 18-year-old’s to address grief and anxiety. There was psychiatric and psychological services, but that was not what my children needed.

“We were grieving and my children were grieving and in many ways not being able to access services made it harder.”

Leeann, her husband Sean and their friend James Doherty began an annual darts competition in Hugh’s memory and donated the money to the Pastoral Centre based in Letterkenny.

The funds were used to set up ‘Hughie’s Corner’, which offers specialised children’s counselling through play therapy and art therapy.

The pastoral centre hold an outreach service in Buncrana once a week due to the high demand.

Leeann and her family are raising funds for a similar outreach service to be held in Carndonagh.

“There is such a lack of children’s counselling services and if a parent doesn’t drive it can be really difficult to make it to Buncrana or Stranorlar. The Pastoral Centre is funded but it still relies heavily on donations and at the moment we are trying to raise as much money as possible,” she said.

Leeann said the family’s support of the Pastoral Centre is a fitting tribute to Hugh.

“It is nice to know it is helping people and it will be great if we can get that extended into Carndonagh.”

The fundraising events include a raffle with the top prizes including a stay in the luxurious surroundings of the Galgorm and a £200 voucher for Smyths. This Thursday (November 7) Nancy’s Barn in Ballyliffin will hold a coffee morning, where there will be live cookery demonstrations.

The annual darts competition will take place in Carricks Bar, Gleneely on November 10 and on November 25 there will be a spinathon in Illico Studios, Derry. For more information or to take part email leeannsimpson13@gmail.com