A 73-year-old man who resides in Cork was in Belturbet last Thursday evening to launch his River Erne fundraising boat challenge and the South African Ambassador to Ireland, her Excellency Priscilla Janna was present to send him off to Belleek in style.
Donnacha Attic hopes to raise money for a ten-year old boy in India, affectionately known all over the world as the "boy of hope". Despite being born with no arms and one tiny little leg, little Tony Clark has a cheerful attitude to life, which according the editor of Nationwide, Rowan Hand, will one day inspire people in many nations.
Mr. Hand who made a Nationwide programme about this amazing boy told the assembled gathering including county manager Jack Keyes that this little boy is blessed to have a brain "that one day in my view will take him to the General Assembly of the United Nations, where he will be able to say, I'm the face of children in need".
He also revealed that Tony is never depressed. "He is always saying I accept the way I am, because it is the way God made me."
Priscilla Jana, Ambassador for South Africa in Ireland said she was thrilled to be invited to launch. "We all know that the challenge of alleviating poverty is the most demanding in many regions of the world and particularly in Asia and Africa. Nelson Mandela said that overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice."
She added: "Everyone in every part of the world has a right to live in dignity and that is what we are doing here in Belturbet this evening - trying to give some dignity to a little boy in a far off land who is struggling to meet the normal demands of life."
The chairman of Belturbet Town Council John McDonald extended a 'Bly Te Kenne', which means 'pleased to meet you' in South African to the ambassador and her daughter Tina. He added that the efforts of Donnacha Attic need to be extolled and highlighted.
Donnacha Attic said he was overwhelmed that so many people in Belturbet would take an interest in helping a little child from the other side of the world. "In every generation there are people born who can affect the whole world -they can change and improve the world. I believe little Tony Clark with his genius will one day do amazing things - I think he can make the entire world better, but he needs patrons to help him along the way," said Mr. Attic.
Beautiful refreshments were served afterwards in The Seven Horse Shoes by proprietor Francis Cahill and his wife Dolores, where traditional entertainment was provided by Martin Donohoe and family.