Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Glenn Barr, has announced the charities he will be supporting during his term in office as the borough’s First Citizen.
Angel Wishes and Guide Dogs NI are set to benefit from charitable efforts this year, and the new Lord Mayor says he is "looking forward to all the experiences and opportunities to represent the borough in what will no doubt be an extremely busy and exciting year".
He added, "There are many worthwhile charities however I am delighted to dedicate my fundraising efforts to support the sterling work both Angel Wishes and Guide Dogs NI do across the borough and beyond.
"Angel Wishes are a charity close to my heart as I am aware of the exceptional support they have been providing in the borough, including two such families in my electoral area of Banbridge. Not only do I want to help raise essential funds for the charity but also raise awareness of this amazing organisation.
"I am a dog lover, having been brought up around working dogs all my life. You can never under-estimate the vital work that Guide Dogs NI does in training these exceptional assistance animals, providing support and independence to those with impaired vision.”
Gaye Kerr, volunteer and founder of Angel Wishes was left speechless when she heard the charity had been chosen by the Lord Mayor.
"Words cannot express how grateful I am that Angel Wishes has been chosen as one of the Lord Mayor’s official charities for 2021/22," she said.
"The charity supports children and their families throughout Northern Ireland affected by cancer related conditions, suppling financial, educational and emotional support for the parents whilst organising gifts and fun days for the children.
"It is extremely rewarding work but it does rely on the generosity of others. Having the support of the Lord Mayor will be an incredible benefit and I look forward to working alongside Alderman Barr to aid all those we support and help children smile again."
Gary Wilson, Northern Ireland Community Fundraising Relationship Manager for Guide Dogs NI said, "We are overjoyed to have been selected to be one of the Lord Mayor’s charities.
"This relationship will bring in much needed funds to support those living with vision impairment across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon council area and indeed across Northern Ireland.
"Guide Dogs is the world’s largest breeder and trainer of working dogs and has had a centre in Northern Ireland since 1984. The charity also offers a free sighted guiding service, helping to promote freedom and independence for people with a vision impairment and provides users with assistive technology and grants, education and family support and mobility training.
"We very much look forward to working with the Lord Mayor for this upcoming year."
The Lord Mayor added, "It was an honour to meet with Gaye and Gary and hear first hand of the tireless and vital work both their organisations undertake and am proud to work alongside them. I aim to organise as many events and opportunities as possible to help raise funds and call upon all our citizens across the borough to join me in supporting these very worthwhile causes."