Firm aids Lourdes charity

Left to right, Martin McLindon and  Billy Neilson present a cheque to HCPT's Helena Gronkowska and Frank Canning.
Left to right, Martin McLindon and Billy Neilson present a cheque to HCPT's Helena Gronkowska and Frank Canning.
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A Motherwell waste firm’s latest charity effort is helping to fund a pilgrimage for disabled youngsters to the religious shrine of Lourdes.

New Town Waste Solutions held a successful sportsman’s dinner at Dalziel Park Country Club.

It resulted in a cheque for £6,200 being presented to representatives of the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust.

Youngsters from the Motherwell area will be among 2,500 from throughout Britain and Ireland travelling to the French shrine at Easter.

It’s an annual pilgrimage that began more than 60 years ago.

After receiving the cheque at New Town’s Albert Street base, HCPT’s Helene Gronkowska said: “It costs around £750 for travel and one week’s accommodation for each child so this means a lot.”

New Town director Martin McLindon knows first hand what the Lourdes trip means to families and helpers as his son Connaire, now 14, was with the HCPT party there two years ago.

Martin said: “It’s humbling when you see what they do for the youngsters.

“I know that the moment the helpers are back from Lourdes they start fundraising again for the next trip.”

New Town have boosted a number of charities over the last few years.

Fellow director Billy Neilson said: “We reckon we have raised more than £70,000. We try to support a different charity every time.”

Plans are already in place for the next sportsman’s dinner which will take place in early March.

And Martin is hoping to revive a sponsored bike ride to London which has been done several times.

However, Billy’s not sure about getting in the saddle again for the 420-mile endurance test. He said: “I’ve done it twice and it’s tough. It takes four days and we’re cycling into the wind most of the way!”

Before the HCPT trips began disabled pilgrims to Lourdes had to stay in hospitals, but Helena said: “These days they are in hotels so they can enjoy the social side of it too.

“It’s grown hugely from one group in London in 1954 and now there are children from other parts of Europe, North America and the Caribbean.”

More details on HCPT can be found on its website at www.hcpt.org.uk.