A Keady resident has, in the last week, raised over £2,400 for two local charities by using nothing more than her hands, home oven and a host of pre-supplied plates.
Fiona Shortt – alongside her trusty team of friends and family – decided to reheat a previous fundraising effort for the benefit of suicide prevention charity PIPS Hope and Support and Armagh-based day centre for people with Autism and learning disability, Triple A.
PIPS received £1,600 and Triple A received £825 from Fiona’s fundraising effort.
It all started six years ago when Fiona’s daughter Eimear needed to find funding for her school trip to Romania. It was time to put their heads together and come up with a way to find the dough!
However, it didn’t take long for crafty Fiona to swap her thinking cap for her chef’s hat as she cooked up a tasty fundraising scheme.
Fiona opened the cupboards and got to work with the materials she had to hand, baking a famous Armagh favourite… the apple tart.
The recipe had been given to her by her Grandmother and, by all accounts, it would appear that Grannies really do know best, as Fiona said the response was “incredible”.
She said: “After that fundraiser everyone kept asking me when I was going to do it again! I hadn’t actually planned another but then I saw a post for Triple A the other day so I wanted to do something to help. They [Triple A and PIPS] are two very worthy causes that need our support.
“I also think, with bereavement in general, it’s so hard for people to meet and to know what to say when they do. This is a way for people to come together and show they care.”
Ready for round two, the team – comprised of Fiona, her sisters Siobhan, Patrina and Joanne, friends Alison and Linda and niece Jodie – over the course of two days baked in the region of 160 apple tarts.
“I started on Saturday night making some pastry. Everything was made by hand. I don’t use a mixer. It was just one tart at a time, cooked off in plates brought to us by the public, in a home oven that could take three tarts at a time,” said Fiona.
She continued: “The main baking was done on Sunday and Monday but the response was incredible. Tarts have gone off to Portaferry, Leitrim and County Down. Some people took tarts home on the Sunday and came back again on Monday for another.
“One person texted me to say that I had sent her back a dish with tin foil and no tart because it had vanished so quickly! Others sent messages to say they had never tasted tart like it!”
The saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ had no bearing here, as help was welcomed at every opportunity. The ingredients used to make the tarts were generously donated by local businesses and members of the public.
Fiona said: “Shane from Sealmax offered from the minute we posted we were going to do the fundraiser that he would back us for any ingredients needed.
“Then Mark from Rice’s Supermarket asked what we needed and helped out with the sugar and more apples. We also received apple donations from orchard owners all around Armagh. It got to the stage where I think if someone had wanted to bake an apple tart in Keady they couldn’t have got the ingredients from a local shop!”
At last count, a total of £2,230 has been raised with £1,500 to be donated to PIPS and the remaining £730 for Triple A.
Of the donations, Fiona commented: “Before we started a friend asked me what I hoped to raise. I had a figure in my head, but I thought it was far too ambitious. I had originally wanted to make some money for PIPS and around £200-300 for Triple A, as our second charity. I never imagined we would not only reach our target but to have passed it is amazing.
“A massive well done and thank-you to all who have helped and donated. There are a few sore wrists and hands today but it has all been very, very worth it.”