The Order of Malta continued the tradition of performing a mini carol service with dancers for the residents of St. Patrick’s Hospital on Sunday December 22nd for a couple of hours.
The music for the performance is provided by the excellent Frank Simon who keeps us in tune, no easy task and he has always made himself available to help out in this regard and to him we are very grateful.
This “performance” started last year and it is very rewarding for both the Order of Malta members, families and residents to see the positive effect they can have on each other whilst performing a few old favourites like Jingle Bells, Silent Night and others intertwined with Irish dancing all led by the Maestro Frankie on the guitar.
We covered a number of wards in the hospital and we were requested on one ward to sing that classic Larry Cunningham hit, “Lovely Leitrim”.
Such was the reaction of the members that Sean Donoghue, the officer in charge aims to extend this annual Christmas event to doing something in the summer that may even involve taking some of the residents out for a day.
This work is all part of the service that the Order of the Malta offers in Carrick-on-Shannon and the town’s surrounding areas.
The Order of Malta is a national organisation with over 84 units dotted around the country, North and South and since our unit was established in Carrick-on-Shannon in 2006, we cover annually in excess of 50 duties in the locality.
As well, we assist in national duties such as “Reek Sunday” at the end of July and music concerts in the 02 as well as the Electric Picnic, Oxegen and the National Ploughing Championships.
We also provide first aid cover together with our colleagues in the Sligo to all the Sligo horse racing events.
The Order of Malta is not all about first aid as you can see from our activities and it is envisaged that we will move into other non first-aid duties involving community care activities.
We are keen to attract new members of all ages as some of our duties happen during the day/week and these are covered by volunteers who have retired from the normal work.
It is seen as a social gathering similar to any other club and lasting friendships have grown out joining the Order.
All members are volunteers and come from different walks of life and this adds to the diversity of the unit.
No member receives any reward for any duty and all money collected and donated are used for the upkeep of the ambulance fleet, equipment supplies and the ongoing training of the members.
Accountability is key to the Order of Malta in Carrick-on-Shannon and all funding is very transparent as to where money comes from and how it is spent.
Every new entrant is subjected to Garda clearance regulations before joining the Order of Malta and they will receive training starting with basic first aid and can progress to different levels of training depending on the members’s appetite and experience.
The Order of Malta are a recognized training provider and have provided training for various groups in the locality.
We have and continue to work closely with transition students in Elphin/Roscommon as well as various beavers/scouts and brownie groups in providing a basic understanding of first aid.
We will in the very near future be starting a cadet group (covering children from 11 to 16 years) as junior members of the Order of Malta and this will hopefully provide a feeder group to the senior unit.
We will be keen for parents to get involved as youth leaders for this group and again training will be provided.
If anyone is interested in joining the Senior unit then you can register an interest by emailing Carrickonshannon@orderofmalta.ie
In addition, you can log onto the Order of Malta website nationally at www.orderofmalta.ie to get more details.