Lucky winners get Christmas for Free

THIS festive season will be extra special for three lucky families in the district who have won ‘Christmas for Free’ courtesy of Banbridge Chamber of Trade.

Wendy Barlow, Helene McKee and Ryan McDonald will all ensure they have the spaces under their Christmas trees fully stocked this month, enjoying hampers full of food, shopping vouchers and even an iPad each.

Donaghmore mother-of-two Wendy Barlow’s husband Brian and daughters Emma (12) and nine-year-old Lucy live with brittle bone disease and Wendy said the wealth of gifts in the generous hampers will provide her family with a well-deserved treat this Christmas.

“It’s especially nice because there are a lot of things they don’t get the chance to do so it’s a really nice thing to be able to have all these gifts and not to worry about the expense of Christmas,” Wendy told the Leader.

The local mum said she was in shock when she received a phonecall telling her she was one of three winners - from more than 800 entries - of the hampers which are worth thousands of pounds.

Wendy had enjoyed the treasure hunt around the town last month and entered the competition “for a bit of fun” but with little expectation of winning.

“I think the last thing I won was a packet of sweets in primary school,” Wendy laughed. “My husband and daughters and I had just enjoyed taking part in the competition during the lights switch-on and didn’t really think we had a chance of winning anything.

“I was shocked but delighted to find out we had won and the girls were over the moon.”

Banbridge Academy pupil Emma had her heart set on an iPad since last year, even attempting to save up for one at one stage. Now, her mum said, she will have her dream fulfilled this Christmas.

“We had agreed that if we did win Emma would get the iPad and Lucy would get the toy vouchers - she already has some of it spent!” Wendy, who said her husband will avail of the clothes vouchers and luxury toiletries, extended her thanks to all the businesses who donated prizes on the night.

“I always do my shopping in Banbridge town centre anyway so we were delighted to go in on the night and enter the competition,” Wendy said. “I want to say a huge thanks to the businesses who so generously donated prizes, especially at such a difficuly economic time. They have really made sure we have an aextra sepcial Christmas.”

Chamber of Trade president Joe Quail said this year’s prize fund was even more generous than last year.

“We would like thank everyone for taking part in a great night’s fun with over 800 entries,” said Mr Quail. “We like to thank all the businesses for their very generous donations.”

“ We would like to thank the council for their help in the promotion of the event, our volunteers for their hard work and for helping us with the Christmas for free and helping us to set up our new Facebook page and the primary schools for their help with the leaflets. We hope that next year we can run it again and make it even bigger than this year.”

Any busineeses that want to get involved with the chamber our next meeting is in January and they can contact us any time through facebook

Those businesses included: Banbridge Chamber of Trade, David Rodgers, Gordons Chemist, Quails, The Richmond, Katriona, Framed, Gordons Chemist, Eden health, Karen Flowers, Jill McKeown, The Bronte Steak House, Donaghys, Diamond Dolls, Stanlet McQueen, Crorys, Precious, Iveagh Movie Studios, M2 Clothing, Quails at the Gallery, the Winsdor Café, Walshes, Lil Miss Colour, The Card Cave, Porters, Walkers, Telepizza, Total Hockey, Pink fit, Boots, Card Heaven, Sports injury Clinic (Jane Waugh), Super fry, Piggotts, Pat Lennon estate agents, French Presse, The Home Bakery, The New Orchard, Calinni, The Workz, Super Toys, Armstrong Jewellers, Fred Elliott, Aura, Willis travel, Flawless, Wm Mulligan and Lunneys.