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Laois teenager’s kindness hailed ‘an inspiration’ in campaign to bring a hospice to the midlands

Pictured at the Talbot farm in Ballacolla, this week, Robin Talbot, Pat Minnock Hooves4Hospice; Pat Lalor, Chairman Hooves4Hospice ;(front)Ann Talbot and Ruth Talbot. Pic Jeff Harvey.
Pictured at the Talbot farm in Ballacolla, this week, Robin Talbot, Pat Minnock Hooves4Hospice; Pat Lalor, Chairman Hooves4Hospice Picture: Jeff Harvey

The kindness of a Laois teenager has become an inspiration for a campaign that is trying to bring a hospice to the midlands.

Ruth Talbot, a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl from Laois, wished to use some of her Confirmation money for a good cause that would benefit her community. She has donated and is currently rearing the 500th Hooves4Hospice animal.

Sourced in Kilkenny and purchased in Galway, the Friesian heifer is being reared and cared for by Ruth, daughter of Robin and Ann Talbot, and sister of 17 year old Sarah, on the family farm at Coole in Ballacolla.

While preparing for her Confirmation, Ruth, always one to think of others, felt she would like to share her money gifts with some worthwhile cause.

Although the Confirmation was postponed due to Covid from June to December last year, Ruth persevered with her idea and bought the heifer calf with her own money, in February last year.

Family friend, Liam Cassin, assisted Ruth in her search for the animal which was purchased from Galway farmer, Noel Nelly.

Support for Ruth and her very generous gesture was also apparent in her community, evidenced by the fact that the local Glanbia store dropped her over some calf feed.

Now her 20 month-old in-calf heifer can be seen grazing in front of the family home.

Last week Ruth make contact with the Hooves4Hospice office to say that she wished to donate the proceeds of the sale, later this year, to H4H.

She said: “I am aware that the midlands is now the only area in the country which does not have a Regional Hospice and the fact that people currently have to travel to Dublin or further for end of life care.

“So when I heard about Hooves4Hospice I thought it was such a worthwhile project – fundraising to provide a facility that will be there in the future for families and their loved ones in the midlands.

“So, when I sell my in-calf heifer towards the end of this year, I will be giving the proceeds to H4H.

Ruth hopes that other farmers in the area would support the project.

She said: “The Covid pandemic has reminded us of the importance of community, of looking after those who are close to us.

“So, we are proud to do our part in helping this most worthy and necessary venture.”

Lions Clubs in the midlands have joined forces with the farming community, supportive organisations and individuals in a fundraising project, named ‘Hooves 4 Hospice’ that has the potential to raise a sizeable sum of money towards the cost of building the much needed Midland Regional Hospice.

Mr Pat Lalor, Chairman H4H described signing-off on the 500th _ a donate and rear animal – as a very significant milestone for H4H and a tribute to the support and generosity of the farming and business community throughout the midlands.

He said: “Ruth’s generous gesture is inspirational to all involved in the project and proof that our project has touched all ages in the community.

“We are very grateful to Ruth and her family for their support.”

Launched in 2020 over 500 animals are now being reared by farmers participating in the project.

When the animals are reared and sold, the entire proceeds will be donated to the project. Cash donations from individuals and community groups totalling over €100,000 have also been received.

The target with everybody’s support is to raise €1 million towards the building costs of the Midland Regional Hospice.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.