Hundreds enjoyed this night of music, dancing and heartwarming moments.
Glitz and glam, generosity and great craic was the order of the night when Donegal social diarist Gabrielle McMonagle hosted her 10th fundraising ball last weekend.
Over 400 people flocked to the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny on Saturday night for the Gabrielle’s Diary Ball, one of the biggest events in Donegal’s social calendar.
The event was a giant party of music and dancing and heartwarming moments in aid of a great local cause – the Donegal Down Syndrome Association (DDS).
Style icon Gabrielle was joined by special guest and fellow fashionista Sinead McDevitt for a grand entrance and some exceptional speeches.
Sinead, who Gabrielle first met on World Down Syndrome Day 2018, was the inspiration behind this year’s event being held in aid of DDS.
Just days after World Down Syndrome Day 2019, Sinead shared some important messages in her speech. She spoke about the huge benefits she gained from Speech and Language therapy with DDS and with a little help from family, teachers and friends, she has truly come into her own.
The aspiring fashion designer, who loves sport and dance, made a big impact with her words:
“I like being different, I like being me, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Sinead.
Gina Grant from DDS shared the history of the local branch and outlined the outstanding work they have done over the years to champion equal education and support for children and adults with Down syndrome.
Members of DDS their partners put on a spectacular dance which was excellently choreographed by Shona Tinneny. This show stopping performance was a proud and memorable moment for all the dancers and their families and it set the tone for a lively and fun night for all.
Few could wait for one of the most exciting parts of the night – when the winners of Gabrielle’s fundraiser raffle were revealed. Fabulous prizes from local hotels, stores and beauty salons were won, while there were huge celebrations for Jacqueline Abbas, who scooped the grand prize of five nights in the 5 star Bonnington Hotel in Jumeirah Lake Towers.
Martin McGettigan of the McGettigan Group was there to award the top prize, and was full of praise for Gabrielle’s hard work in organising the ball in support of DDS this year.
Well-known photographer and columnist Gabrielle has raised over €150,000 for local causes from her fundraising nights. From the huge numbers in attendance and generosity for the grand prize raffle, she is sure to add another great amount to this total.
After a wonderful banquet, great giveaways, a holiday auction and entertainment MC’d by Lee Gooch, guests packed the dancefloor to enjoy music with the David Craig band and DJ Tubbsy – and more than a few dance-offs!
See more photos from the ball below, by Declan Devlin Photography: