Barry Smyth, Farmers Forum.ie, presenting a cheque to John McCauley for the purchase of cattle for an orphanage in Tanzania, with Martin Nally of Handyweb.ie (left).
Bargains galore will be on offer this Saturday at The Greville Arms at a charity event organised by Westmeath Examiner photographer John McCauley, who is travelling to Africa in August to help kit out an orphanage that badly needs financial assistance.
One of the best bargains costs a modest €10 - the chance to have a portrait taken and printed on the spot - and the entire proceeds of this, and all the other items sold on the day, will be used to help buy farm animals, and whatever else can be bought in Africa, to help improve life for the children in the orphanage.
Saturday's day is billed as a Make me an offer sale, at which customers can offer a price for whatever catches their eye.
There will be an enormous number of items on sale, including wines, and John is encouraging people to drop in and browse, and maybe have a portrait taken and printed.
It's an important event," he says, explaining that there is a degree of urgency about his mission. "They need so many things," says John of the children he is aiming to help.
He first came across the orphanage in Tanzania two years ago, as he made his way back to the airport at Arusha. Spotting the sign for the orphanage, he was inspired to drive in.
"I decided I would go there, and leave some money, just to say thanks to God because I had a lovely trip," he said.
What he found there was a collection of barely-dressed children who were sleeping three or four to each level on a handful of bunkbeds.
"Their food conditions was a pot on the fire outside. That is what they cooked on. There were only dry toilets; no water."
John resolved to help whatever way he could, and began fund-raising for the orphanage when he came home, but when question marks were raised over the commitment of the then director of the orphanage, he became dubious about whether the children would ever see the benefit of the funds raised here, and so, he donated the money to Goal. Since then, however, a new director - an Evangelical Christian - has been appointed to the orphanage, which has moved to different premises.
The new director has appealed for help, and John is responding to the call.
John is paying his own way to Africa, and guaranteeing that every cent raised through Saturday's fundraiser, or otherwise donated, will directly benefit the children.
Some items have been sent out already, collected for the orphanage by the staff of the Westmeath Examiner and other friends and contacts, but in Africa, John hopes to buy cows, chickens, and fund the provision of electricity, as well as helping purchase schoolbooks, and, if needed clothing.
He points out that it will be cheaper to buy these items in Africa, than to take them out from Ireland.
"Everything is going so well, and people have been very helpful and very generous," says John, praising those who have made donations since hearing of his plans.
• Anyone passing the Greville on Saturday between noon and 6pm should drop in: there they will be able to hear more about the orphanage from John, and maybe pick up some bargains, while helping out a worthy cause.