THE Caheragh Threshing Committee – the organisers of one of Munster’s biggest threshing events – has had its most successful year to date.
Last week committee members handed over a cheque for €68,000 to Breakthrough Cancer Research in Cork, and local community groups, following this year’s event, held in October.
It means the committee has now raised over €1m since 1999, the majority of which has gone to Breakthrough Cancer Research in Cork city, a charity close to their hearts.
Prof Gerry O’Sullivan, who began the research facility at UCC, was a native of Caheragh, and a great advocate for the area.
In turn, his neighbours and friends have been supporting the ground-breaking charity which has done so much for cancer sufferers since it was established.
The outstanding surgeon, a world authority on cancer research, passed away in 2012, but not before leaving behind the wonderful legacy of the cancer research centre in Cork.
‘In the first year, 1999, the committee raised £7,002,’ secretary Kathleen Kirby told The Southern Star. ‘And we have grown every year since.’
The committee was set up by a group of friends and neighbours after locals Tim O’Sullivan and Micheál Kirby came up with the idea of commemorating the old style of threshing, after a chat in the Travellers’ Rest in Caheragh.
The day-long event celebrates the old tradition of neighbours helping each other out at harvest time, when they visited each other’s farms and helped out with the corn, barley and oats.
The threshing also celebrates the old methods of work, with a big emphasis on vintage machinery, which is always a big draw on the day.
There is also butter making, home baking, milk churning, sheep shearing, and more.
‘It’s an important event to show the younger generations the old ways, but also because of the social interaction between family and neighbours in the community,’ PRO Pat Gregory told The Southern Star.
‘There is a great community spirit here,’ says the committee member, who describes herself as a ‘blow-in’ of many years, from north London originally.
‘People of all ages and groups are catered for, there is a great sense of giving, and sharing.’
The committee is now hoping to infuse the organisation with some younger members, and ‘new blood’ and generate some new ideas, too. They are appealing to anyone in the area, or any of the many organsations familiar with the great contributions it makes to local charities, to come forward and get involved.
‘Quite a lot of different groups and charities, along with Breakthrough Cancer Research, have benefitted over the years, and it would be great to get some representatives of those involved in the festival now,’ said Kathleen.
Groups like the Skibbereen Day Care Centre, CoAction, Cope, Skibbereen and Bantry hospitals and Cancer Connect have all received donations from the Threshing, a significant amount of which is derived from flag days around the county.
The Caheragh committee volunteers start planning the next event in January and run flag days from May to September, all voluntarily, from north Cork, to east Cork, and throughout the city, as well as on home ground in West Cork.
They are very proud of the fact there is now a ‘Caheragh Conference Room’ in the Breakthrough Cancer Centre in Cork, as a result of their €1m-plus donation over the years.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has donated to us over the years, and, despite the tough times for charities of late, the public have never given up on us,’ said Kathleen, paying special tribute to their hard-working committee, including chairperson DJ Dineen and treasurer John Scully.