John Dalzell OBE is gearing up for his 32nd annual fundraising “sit-out” for the Southern Area Hospice, a tradition he’s upheld since turning 50 in 1991.
John will spend nearly two weeks in his iconic trailer on Hill Street, Newry, collecting donations from December 9th to 23rd, from 8am to 4pm daily.
Over the past three decades, John, along with his dedicated ‘sit-out team’, has braved the cold to gather funds for the Hospice, with last year’s efforts raising an amazing £140,000.
Despite enquiries about when he might retire, Bessbrook man John insists he’ll continue as long as possible.
“I really don’t know where the years have gone, they have flown by and now I really cannot imagine Christmas without collecting for the Hospice,” he said.
“Many people ask me when I am stopping but I have no notion of it. I will be there every Christmas for as long as I am able to help the local people who need the Hospice.
“So, if you see me or my team about the town give us a shout – when it’s cold and wet you are what keeps us going.”
John’s sit-out has become an integral part of Newry’s Christmas scene, and John expresses gratitude for the community’s support, acknowledging their role in keeping spirits high during challenging weather conditions.
John welcomes chats and companionship during his time on Hill Street. A testament to his personality, people often approach him now to fondly recall being transported to school on his bus many years ago when they were children.
Fundraising Officer James McCaffrey praised the team’s remarkable commitment.
“John and his dedicated sit-out team are an incredible example of the spirit of giving at Christmas,” he said.
“The amount of time and effort they put into this collection for Southern Area Hospice each year is truly amazing.”
Supporters will be able to donate cash or via a contactless card machine. Collections will not be limited to Hill Street, as additional locations around town, such as Fiveways Shopping Complex, The Quays Shopping Centre, and Damolly Retail Park, will also host collections.
John will mark his 82nd birthday on December 21st with a celebration of food, music and well wishes from family and friends from 12pm to 2pm.
Donations can be made at Hill Street or online, with details available on the campaign’s JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/campaign/johndalzell23 or through Southern Area Hospice Services directly.
Phone donations are also possible by contacting James at 028 302 67711 or returning an appeal letter slip if received.