Martina Quinn, Anne Smith, Marie Bray, Barry Whelehan, Attracta Whelehan, Monica O’Gorman, Ann Keating and Gerry Gorman.

GALLERY: Longford Westmeath Down Syndrome Christmas Party

The food, ambiance and friendliness of the staff were spectacular, at the Longford Westmeath Down Syndrome Christmas party in Annebrook House Hotel, according to Laura Drum, assistant chairperson of the group.

Some 200 members and their families attended. “They kept the dance floor busy and the music was provided by Paul Cheevers of Absolute Disco. Santa took time out to attend, and chatted to each of the members, and had gifts for all,” said Laura.

“This social event is important as it gives young people and their families a chance to network, share ideas and support each other. We’d like to thank the North Midlands Credit Union for support from their social fund, which helps us make this event happen.”

Westmeath Down Syndrome is a parent-led group affiliated to Down Syndrome Ireland for governance and support. “We rely totally on funding and donations and I’d like to thank all our sponsors and wish them a happy new year,” said Laura. “Our committee, chaired by Martina Kelly, had a busy year organising support therapies, classes for dancing, swimming, art, cookery, mindfulness, book clubs, and baby and toddler groups.

“One of the highlights was showcasing a group of 16 dancers at the fleadh. We aim to enhance the lives of persons with Down Syndrome, helping them to achieve their full potential and to be included in society. In the new year, we will be running our employment programme. Some of our members are working and bring an extra dimension to the workplace, and are so proud to be contributing to society,” she says.

“We’d especially like to thank our committee, our secretary Linda Gorman Fitzpatrick, and a special thank you to John McCauley of Tanzanian Heavenly Homes for taking photos at our party.”