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150 service users, supporters, volunteers and Board members packed into Leeds Irish Centre for our Annual Clients Christmas Party with anticipation and delight.

Tom, Chris and the Centre staff had prepared the Claddagh Room to a tee. Festive music, beautifully dressed tables, decorations and catering staff ready and poised to serve the wonderful 4 course Christmas luncheon.

Rachael Loftus, Chair of LIHH welcomed ‘old and new friends’ and said how proud she was to hear so many positive reflections on our services from people. Guest of Honour, Lady Mayoress Counsellor Pat Latty opened the event and commented ‘Christmas is a time for family and friends to come together and Leeds Irish Health & Homes have recreated that family atmosphere and it is wonderful to see’.

When the feast was finished it was time for Kevin Mullowney and his band to fill the dance floor with toe-tapping Irish music to dance off those calories! DJ Tommy K revved things up those Christmas favourites and dance-floor fillers!

The event also saw the launch our poetry anthology ‘The Trojan Donkey’ a project jointly delivered LIHH Support Worker Teresa O’Driscoll and celebrated Leeds poet Ian Duhig and which has been foreworded by the Ambassador of Ireland, Adrian O’Neill.

Recognising poetry as the national art form of Ireland, LIHH has always placed culture at the heart of the wide range of services it delivers. Poetry offers an outlet to nurture creativitity and improve overall well-being . The book is a collection of poems written by service users, staff and volunteers and delivers an interesting and at times hillarious, insight into life as an immigrant from Ireland. The anthology is on sale for only £5 per copy and readers have been astounded at the quality of the poetry on offer.

Teresa and the ladies from our CHIME Art Group then regailed us with a wonderful sing-a-long starting with Silent Night, sung part in Gaelic which created a beautiful candlelit ambiance and left us all revelling in the Christmas spirit.

This year we were able to get extra special raffle prizes due to the generosity of donations we received which ensured everyone left with a spring in their step and huge smile!

Take a look at our photos of the event and give us a like and share the word of our work. It means the world to us and the people we help. https://www.facebook.com/leedsirishcommunity/

The whole event would not be possible without the very generous contributions of the following companies. We would like to thankyou all from the bottom of our hearts and on behalf of the 150 smiles you created.