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Coronavirus: Belfast GAA club and flute band praised for volunteer effort

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Stock image showing the contents of a typical food package. Volunteers are co-ordinating pharmacy pick-ups and deliver food and other supplies during the crisis. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Stock image showing the contents of a typical food package. Volunteers are co-ordinating pharmacy pick-ups and deliver food and other supplies during the crisis. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

PA

Stock image showing the contents of a typical food package. Volunteers are co-ordinating pharmacy pick-ups and deliver food and other supplies during the crisis. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

A flute band and a GAA club in south Belfast have been praised for working together to deliver parcels to those in need.

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford commended their response to the coronavirus lockdown.

"The boys from Ballynafeigh Apprentice Boys Flute Band have been working with other groups in the area, including Bredagh GAC, to deliver parcels to the needy," Mr Stalford said on Facebook.

"This virus doesn't recognise where you hang your hat on a Sunday. Let us all move forward together."

Malcolm McFarlane is the chairman of Bredagh GAC, which has been working with Ormeau Boxing Club, Rosario Football Club and Rosario Youth Club to stock a local food bank and carry out deliveries. He said the cross-community co-operation seen on the Ormeau Road was happening all over Northern Ireland.

"It's going well, but we need more donations as there's a great demand," he said.

"One of the things we've discovered is that there is people suffering from the virus but are undiagnosed, so they're stuck at home.

"They're struggling with how they'll get their meds from the chemist, so we're doing pick-ups and delivering them round.

"This is on top of the food end of it. We currently have 60-odd volunteers."

On the efforts from Ballynafeigh Flute band, Mr McFarlane said: "There's clubs from all over the city doing this, in Sandy Row, Falls Road, Shankill Road. Everyone on the Ormeau Road is covered, but this is happening everywhere."

Ballynafeigh Flute Band did not wish to comment yesterday.

Elsewhere, the Shankill Old Boys Flute Band is using £1,100 of funds saved for new uniforms to buy personal protection equipment for NHS workers.

The band was formed last year and its 30 members had been looking forward to their first parade in Carrickfergus this June.

With band practices suspended, club treasurer Mark Harrison said members had kept in touch over Facebook. "We've been fundraising (through a football competition) to complete our first uniform, but in discussion the other evening, members agreed that our NHS staff are more deserving at this time," he said.

"We're all impressed by the dedication of hospital staff at this time and want to do all that we can to help protect them."

The band, which practises at Whiterock Orange Hall off the Springfield Road in west Belfast, has presented its donation to North Belfast DUP MLA William Humphrey to pass on to the appropriate authorities.

"This is a wonderful gesture of support for our frontline health workers," said Mr Humphrey.

"Given that the band is still fundraising for their first uniform, it is very generous for them to put their own needs aside in order to help keep NHS doctors and nurses safe as they care for people suffering from Covid-19.

"I'm delighted to play a small part in passing on this donation which is a credit to the band and the Greater Shankill community."

Belfast Telegraph