Walk and auction in memory of Stephen

FRIENDS and family of the late Lance Corporal Stephen McKee have organised a special fundraising walk and auction in his memory.

The event, which takes place during the day and evening of Saturday, 6th August, is in aid of the RIR Benevolent Fund.

Walkers are asked to meet at Banbridge Orange Hall at 10 o’clock, from where Downshire Coaches will transport participants to the Park Inn Bar, Scarva - the starting point of the walk.

Sponsor forms have been circulating, as have fireside quizz sheets which are on sale at Elliot’s Butchers in Banbridge.

On completion, the walkers will return to the Orange Hall where refreshments will be provided for everyone who has taken part.

In the evening, a night of entertainment has been planned at Banbridge Rugby Club, starting at eight o’clock and this event will be by ticket only.

Music will be from piper Ian Lyons, a well known local man who moved to Australia but who will be playing with the Field Marshall Montgomery band and ‘Young Drums’ based in Rathfriland. There will also be a disco and fundraising auction and raffle conducted by John McCallister MLA.

One of the organisers, Hayley Russell, said the benefitting charity was close to the heart of Stephen’s family and she encouraged as many people as possible to support the all-day fundraiser.

“Stephen was a well known and respected member of the community and immense sadness struck his family and friends when he was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb earlier this year,” said Hayley. “He was a very dear friend to me and my family, as we grew up together in Banbridge pipe band and continued our friendship afterwards.

“I wanted to do something in his memory and I thought organising a day in which we could raise money for a charity close to the family’s heart would be a good idea. The response has been terrific and everyone wants to get involved.

“Some friends are even going to run instead of walk and some are carrying weights on their backs such is the enthusiasm.

“We would like to thank everyone involved to date and we just want everyone to enjoy their day and night in memory of Stephen and at the same time raise as much money as possible for the Benevolent Fund.”

Councillor Glenn Barr added, “He was a one-off, a true gentleman and I have the great honour of being able to call Stephen my friend.

“He was our very own hero and I will carry our memories together forever - and I’m sure everyone involved will do the same”.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can contact any of the organisers - Hayley Russell 07793549287; Kelly McKee 07860522978; Melissa Roke 07763835552; Glenn Barr 07915666179; or Rebecca McKee 07540405861.