A newly formed flute band who were planning to take part in their first parade in June have donated money raised for band uniforms to the NHS.
Shankill Old Boys Flute Band have given £1,100 towards the cost of personal protection equipment for frontline health workers dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
The money had been raised via a Last Man Standing football prediction competition to pay for uniforms for the band which was set up last year.
Given that all football has been suspended to stop the spread of Covid-19 the north Belfast band decided to call off the Last Man Standing and use the money instead to help protect vital NHS workers.
Gary Harrison, who helped set up in the band with friends and family members in September, said the Last Man Standing competition had been the main source of fundraising for the uniforms along with band dues and a special event.
He said: “We have bought parts of our uniform as we go along but the money for the rest is what we are donating to NHS.
“William Humphrey (DUP MLA for North Belfast) will be taking the money to Stormont tomorrow along with a box with a few hundred pounds of donations in it.
“This is the most important thing right now.
“We’re not the only ones helping out. We just want to do our bit. We’re all in this together.”
Gary, a former member of Shankill Star, said: “When this is over we’ll be getting the band up and running asap. We are practising on WhatsApp by sending tunes so the boys are up to scratch.
“The Tour of the North was meant to be our first parade in June.”
Commenting on the band’s Facebook announcement that it was to donate £1,100 to help buy more personal protection equipment for the National Health Service, Jack Hemsworth said: “Well done gents. In a time of crisis the Shankill Road has never been found wanting.”
Meanwhile DUP MLA Christopher Stalford has highlighted a cross-community effort in south Belfast in establishing an emergency food bank.
The food bank has been set up by Ballynafeigh Unionist Forum, Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys FB, Ballynafeigh and Breda Star FC and Ormeau Culture and Historical Society in conjunction with Bredagh GAC, Ormeau Boxing Club and Rosario FC.
Mr Stalford tweeted: “The boys from Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys Flute Band have been working with other groups in the area including Breda GAC to deliver parcels to the needy. This virus doesn’t recognise where you (before lock down) hang your hat on a Sunday. Let us all move forward together.”
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