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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

MND heroes and Lady Mary’s Trust raise the bar with launch of joint fundraiser

Front row: Debbie Marrs, Lady Mary Peters and Raymond Hill. Back row: Jane Allen from Magheramorne Estate with her daughter Sara – Head of Guest Experience.

Front row: Debbie Marrs, Lady Mary Peters and Raymond Hill. Back row: Jane Allen from Magheramorne Estate with her daughter Sara – Head of Guest Experience.


Inspired by former British indoor champion high-jumper Debbie Marrs and World Police and Fire Games volunteer Raymond Hill, Lady Mary Peters and her Trust have teamed up with Motor Neurone Disease Association NI to host a special Gala Dinner event to raise much needed funds for both charities.


The reception, dinner and auction featuring guest speakers and musical performances takes place on Thursday 17th October 2024 at the classically stylish Magheramorne Estate near Larne.



Both Debbie and Raymond are living with MND and are part of the organising team putting together the charity bash alongside Jane Allen and her family who own and operate the magnificent wedding and event complex as well as Lady Mary and representatives from the Mary Peters Trust.


Jane Allen from Magheramorne Estate with her daughter Sara – Head of Guest Experience.

Jane Allen from Magheramorne Estate with her daughter Sara – Head of Guest Experience.


A former Mary Peters Trust athlete and the 1988 British Indoor High Jump Champion, Debbie Marrs has in recent years been diagnosed with MND. Last December (2023) alongside family, friends, neighbours and colleagues she raised £8,500 by completing an indoor ‘triathlon’ at Holywood’s Bannatyne Health Club.


Debbie said:


‘“I’m excited to be involved in creating this new event which will further raise the profile of motor neurone disease in Northern Ireland and additionally generate funds to support people like myself and our families as we navigate the impact of MND and pave the way for a better future for all. Both my daughter Megan and I have benefitted from Mary Peters Trust funding and I’m thrilled that half of all cash raised will be equally divided between these wonderful charities.”



Debbie Marrs, Raymond Hill and Lady Mary Peters

Debbie Marrs, Raymond Hill and Lady Mary Peters


Larne local, Raymond Hill has been involved in sport all his life and during his 31 years with the NI Prison Service was an integral part of its Sports Association and was a key player in bringing the World Police & Fire Games extravaganza to Northern Ireland in 2013.


“I first met Lady Mary back in 2005 when we began work on the WPFG bid. Post 2013 we’ve remained good friends and have continued to support the international WPFG Board,” Raymond said. “Our WPFG 10-year reunion event in August 2023 generated funds for the MNDA NI branch and I’m delighted to continue this collaboration with Mary by raising even more money for Motor Neurone Disease in October.”

 



Now a committee member with the NI branch of Motor Neurone Disease Association, Raymond was diagnosed with the condition in May 2021 and is pushing to raise the profile of MND as well as taking part in ongoing research vital to ultimately help find a cure. Raymond is currently involved in clinical trials at hospitals in Dublin and Craigavon and says,:


“It’s all about striving to find a cure and I’m happy to give something back to the MND community by taking part in ongoing research.


“Our Magheramorne Estate event will raise more awareness of MND, generate funds to continue with important research as well as support for all connected to and impacted by MND.”


Raymond Hill, Jane Allen and Lady Mary Peters

Raymond Hill, Jane Allen and Lady Mary Peters


Monies raised for MND will support specialist nurses, provide research bursaries to universities, and support a range of NI programmes. These include regional roadshows, Carers Days and Afternoon Tea events which enable people affected by MND, their carers and families to get together and share information and tips on where they can source help, positive support, grants and specialist equipment.


Lady Mary Peters says:


“Sport promotes good health and wellbeing which is so important for those with a disability. Therefore, there is a natural synergy between our two charities and I’m really pleased that the Mary Peters Trust and Motor Neurone Disease Association NI are coming together for this standout gala event in the beautiful surroundings of Magheramorne Estate.



“Similar to MNDA NI, funds raised for the Mary Peters Trust will impact local people, providing funds for young athletes to source the best facilities and coaching to reach their goals and potentially bring back medals to Northern Ireland.


“It’s wonderful to be organising our reception and dinner with Raymond and Debbie - fantastic people who are a real inspiration to us all. We are also very grateful to Jane and her team at Magheramorne for providing the venue on a complimentary basis and assisting us in bringing the whole event together. We’re hoping to have a full house on October 17.”


Tickets for the Gala dinner and event cost £65 each or £600 for a table of ten. To book contact Gillian Hetherington at the Mary Peters Trust;


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