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Fahan woman’s fundraiser tops £100,000 08.12.13

by Bill Heaney

IT was a red letter day for Inishowen woman Georgie Duncan recently when Beanfeast, her Scottish charity fund, broke through the £100,000 mark
Georgie, a farmer’s daughter from Fahan, near Buncrana, watched proudly as Sheriffs Simon Pender and Simon Fraser, accompanied by Lord Pentland and Tom Finnegan JP, joined lawyers and court staff in Dumbarton on Clydeside to hand over cheques totalling £10,000 to four local charities.
The presentations took place in the court building in Church Street, Dumbarton, where the High Court, the Sheriff Court and the Justice of the Peace Court now sit.
Georgie Duncan, right, hands over a cheque to Owen Warner for Muscular Dystrophy while judges and court staff look on. Photo: Bill Heaney.
The money was raised by Beanfeast, the voluntary group which supplies a café service to court staff and witnesses, which Georgie has run for 13 years.
Much of the money has gone to making life more comfortable for the young patients in the state-of-the-art Robin House hospice at Balloch, Loch Lomondside.
But this year that was extended to take in other deserving local charities.
One of the cheques cheque was a 20th birthday surprise for muscular dystrophy patient, Owen Warner, of Dumbarton.
He said it would be a great boost for the charity for which he and his parents, Elaine and Robbie, have been raising money for many years.
Georgie launched the charity in 2001 co-operation with solicitor Charles McCusker.
Charlie and friends started Beanfeast with money they raised from sponsorship while running marathons.
They have now raised more than £700,000 since extending their charity work to Beanfeast in courts across Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire.
He said: “Georgie Duncan and her willing helpers have done a magnificent job since taking over the café at Dumbarton.
“She said initially she would do it for a wee while but she is still here and the good news is that the money raised has broken through the £100,000 mark and is now £100,500.”
Georgie, whose maiden name is Walker, was voted Citizen of the Year for West Dunbartonshire two years ago.
She retired from her work at Strathleven Bonded Warehouses in Dumbarton in 1995 and is a member of St Augustine's Scottish Episcopal Church in Dumbarton High Street.
“I could not do this work without the help of my dedicated band of volunteers," a delighted Georgie said.
Lord Pentland, who had been presiding at an important trial in Dumbarton, gave up his lunch break to join sheriffs, solicitors, court staff and Beanfeast volunteers to hand over the cheques.
He said later: “This is an excellent charity and Georgie and her volunteer colleagues are doing great work here in Dumbarton.
“There is a very good atmosphere amongst the people who work at this court.”
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