November 20th, 2019

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Armagh LGFA Chairperson Sinead Reel has thanked all those who contributed to making the recent ‘High G&Tea’ event in the Carrickdale Hotel such an outstanding success.
What was billed as ‘an evening of fashion, fun and frolics in aid of Multiple Sclerosis Newry, Mourne and Armagh and the Armagh Ladies Development Fund’ featured a packed programme of so many diverse elements.
A sell-out attendance of 330, almost exclusively female, in the resplendent Lacey’s suite, the perimeter of which was ringed by a multitude of fashion stalls, were well entertained by a series of first-class performers and distinguished guest speakers.
As guests arrived for the tea-time drinks reception, they were welcomed with live music courtesy of the Ring of Gullion group and had the opportunity for group photos against a superb backdrop provided by Flip Events.
The suite itself, which looked fit for a wedding, was wonderfully dressed for the occasion, and colourfully festooned with a fitting mix of orange and white balloons supplied by Mary Deery and ValuLand Crossmaglen.
After introductory remarks from organisers Reel and Ciara Rice, guests enjoyed a classic afternoon tea style meal before being entertained by a talented troupe of young Irish dancers from the Garvey School of Dance.
They were followed on stage by former Armagh ladies footballer Megan Burns from Silverbridge, an accomplished singer who is a former All Ireland Scor champion and has sung the Irish national anthem at so many big gaelic matches.
Then came a breathtaking, all-action routine of flashing swords and acrobatics from the Orchard county’s own young ninja-warrior, Jessie-Jane McParland, of Britain’s Got Talent fame and increasing recognition worldwide for her spectacular martial arts routines.
Any of the three guest speakers could have headlined in their own right but each brought their own important perspective to the party as they shared some deeply personal stories and imparted empowering messages to their audience.
First up, former Killeavy ladies footballer Carmel Fearon spoke inspiringly of how she manages to juggle being a public health nurse, a yoga teacher with a significant online following and mum of three young children with having MS.
Newry-born new BBC Radio Ulster Sunday morning magazine show host Dearbhail McDonald, a qualified lawyer and award winning journalist at national level is successful by any measure and an influential figure.
However she spoke of facing challenges like everyone else as did Sport NI’s first female Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown from Silverbridge, another notable trail-blazer who is a high-profile leader in her field.
Laura Burns, who blogs as Laura Jane Stylist then hosted a brilliant fashion show segment which included catwalk appearances by a number of volunteer models including Armagh’s 2018 Ladies Footballer of the Year Sarah Marley.
There was also a much-coveted ‘Best Dressed’ award and guests had opportunities throughout the evening to browse the exhibits from local boutiques and other fashion outlets, some of which had established pop-up shops.
A real star of the evening was BBC Apprentice celebrity, local businesswoman and make-up guru Grainne McCoy, who hosted lively party games before guests were invited to dance the night away with DJ JoMac, Joanne McShane.
Crillys Sweets went down well as did Old Carrick Mill Gin on what was a glamorous, memorable evening which will live long in the memory and stands as a great tribute to organisers Reel and Rice.
Silverbridge club member Reel is well known in ladies gaelic circles as Armagh county chairperson while Rice, who lives in Dromintee, has first hand experience of multiple sclerosis as her dad Derek Garvey suffers from the condition.
An active campaigner, Crossmaglen Health Centre pharmacist Ciara has previously run a high tea afternoon fundraiser for MS Newry, Mourne and Armagh and this time combined forces with Reel to organise this stunning joint venture.
“Massive thanks to all who supported the High G&Tea event.  I would like to thank our entertainment and all our guest speakers who gave up their time free of charge.  Their input was fantastic,” said Reel.
“I want to also express gratitude to all our pop-up shops, our sponsors from balloons to sweets, raffle donations, and to the boutiques and shops who let us display their fashion on the night.  Thanks too to the management and staff of the Carrickdale Hotel who once again provided a very professional service.”
Those who exhibited or otherwise supported the event included Cherrypic, Snaubs Newry, Culture Grandeur, Milestone (Rathfriland), The Dress House, Willow Designer Dress Hire, Threadmark Embroidery, Beauty and the Bump (maternity dress-hire), My Glamorous Friend and Accessorised by Elite
Also Maid by Sinead (bridal make-up), Tropic Skin Care by Elaine, Aloe Vera by Marie Therese, Gifted Hair and Beauty Salon, Lou Lou’s Sparkle, Guru Brow and Beauty Studio, Meigh Pharmacy, Shelbourne, Mulkerns and O’Neills.
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