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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Ballymoney's 'Black Santa' charity cheque handover

Ballymoney’s Black Santa, Liam Beckett, has handed over £12,000 to five Ballymoney charities in a reception hosted by the Mayor at Riada House, Ballymoney.

For over 15 years, Liam Beckett has sat out at the Diamond area in Ballymoney the two weeks prior to Christmas, to raise money for five of his chosen charities that are also close to his heart.

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During his 2018 Christmas sit out Liam raised £12,000 which has been split between SVP (St Vincent de Paul), The Salvation Army, The Samaritans, DropInn Ministries and CAN (Compass Advocacy Network) this year.

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All charities were presented with their cheques in a special ceremony held in the Mayors parlour at Riada House this evening (Monday 4th March), where they each received £2400. The ceremony was attended by Mayor Brenda Chivers who said:

“Great to see the work happening in the local community and the amount raised yet again this year.

Keep up the good work.”

Speaking about this year’s total, Liam told us;

“The public never cease to amaze me. I adore all the charities and the work they do.

This year we’ve topped last years total again and I think the 5ps that are donated are as important as the £1s.

I attend to pass the torch this year and have chosen Alastair Coyles as he’s cross community, we’ll know and trust worth, so over the next couple of years I’ll transition Black Santa over to him.”

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Liam has been for a few years been hinting at handing over the role of Black Santa to someone else, and this year has made the announcement that instead of giving the role up completely, he would continue instead to collect alongside other including Ballymoney Rotary Club and Alastair Coyles, in the Christmas sit out 2019.

This came after Liam saw how his money was used in a recent visit at the start of the year to Burkina Fasco Africa through the Drop Inn Ministries. He he was asked to commission a new water well, which had been named in his honour. After seeing the situation in Africa, Liam couldn’t walk away from the Christmas sit outs and plans to visit again at the beginning of next year again.

Speaking of his trip to Burkina Fasco, Liam said:

“A special thanks to Drop Inn Ministries. This year I was asked to make a trip to Africa to commission a water well. I saw sights I thought I would never see.

I intend this year to work extra hard and intend to go back this year again and help another project.

Charity does begin at home, however, I think we can all go the extra mile.”

Linda McKendry, CAN Manager, one of the charities who benefited from the money raised was on hand along with some of the CAN members to accept the cheque for the charity. Speaking about how this money will help the local charity, Linda said;

“CAN are going to split it in two. Half will go to support our Best Buddies project, providing social opportunities to people with learning difficulties.

The other half will be invested to help employ an advice worker to help people with PIP assessments.”

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