An incredible gesture of kindness has been warmly received by residents and a local charity in Newcastle.
Victims of Storm Francis affected by the flooding suffered when it struck suddenly destroying their homes back in August writes Laura Barr.
A campaign to raise funds was set up in the aftermath of the damage caused to the seaside town and the impact this had on residents.
Storm Francis caused severe disruption across Northern Ireland and in particular in Newcastle where the Shimna River burst its banks leading to many homes being destroyed along the Shimna and Bryansford Roads.
A total of £1400 was raised by the campaign led by Newcastle man Rory Brownfoot.
The money was used to buy vouchers for the children affected to replace items that were ruined and a cash donation was made to the Newcastle branch of Autism Initiative on the Bryansford Road who sadly had equipment and supplies damaged during the storm.
Erin’s mum, Chris Callaghan told Down News: “Rory’s ‘gofundme’ campaign for the flood victims of Newcastle was a truly magnanimous gesture.
“His humanity and kindness made a huge impact on Erin and me and allowed her to replace some of her favourite things she lost in the flood.”
Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Laura Devlin said Rory must be praised for his great fundraising efforts.
The SDLP Councillor said: “The amount he raised from within our local community is outstanding.
“Storm Francis was a very dark day for Newcastle, but the community spirit that exists has really struck a chord with those affected by the floods and those who rallied round at people’s time of great need.
“So well done again to Rory!”
Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke praised the efforts of the Newcastle man in raising money for the residents.
Speaking to Down News, he said: “It was clear that many families had lost everything due to the flooding and many of them had no insurance.
“Rory was clearly motivated to make a difference by setting up the ‘gofundme’ page to raise vital funds.
“At a time of great need, Rory set about making a difference for some of the most vulnerable residents.
“Rory and I discussed how his fundraising would make the most impact. We decided families who had lost everything and making life a little better for children with autism became our agreed position.
“A number of families benefitted from Rory’s kindness as well as a local autism initiatives centre.
“Rory awarded a grant to this valuable community asset on behalf of everyone impacted by the recent flooding.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rory and everyone who assisted the residents in their time of need.”