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BDS-NI Branch Supports St. Anne’s ‘Black Santa’ Appeal

The British Deer Society’s Northern Ireland branch (BDS-NI) has donated £900 to St Anne’s Cathedral’s ‘Black Santa’ appeal on its opening day in Belfast.

The money was raised at a Gala Game Banquet organised by the Ulster Reform Club for its members and guests. The BDS-NI sponsored the event by donating the sustainably sourced wild venison for the game themed dinner.

Handing over the Gift-Aided donations to Dean Stephen Forde, BDS-NI representative Greg Kane said: “For the seventh year running the branch has sponsored the Ulster Reform Club’s Game Banquet, which is held shortly before the Cathedral’s Christmas Appeal begins.

“This Banquet is a great opportunity to promote the work of the BDS to an informed and influential audience at an event that is deliberately limited to fewer than four dozen attendees. We are the local branch of a national charity and this supports our work to develop peoples’ understanding of the wild deer living in Northern Ireland along with the challenge of both respecting them and ensuring they can live in sustainable balance with their natural habitat”.

Ulster Reform Club President, Michael Copeland, said the Club was very pleased to mount the event again this year.

He added: “The Banquet is a BDS-NI initiative and their donation of the wild venison lets our Chef and his team create an exceptional fine dining experience for our members and guests. This Gala night has become one of the premier events in the Club’s social calendar with the ballot in support of the Black Santa appeal a highlight of the evening. That we have raised £900 this year from a modesty sized gathering is a credit to all those attending. It takes the total raised in the seven years of this event to £6,200, which I think is a great reflection on the Ulster Reform Club and its members”.

The St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, ‘Black Santa’ tradition began in 1976 with a pre-Christmas ‘sit-out’ on the Cathedral steps by the then Dean, dressed in traditional black Anglican clerical cloak, to collect donations that could be given to local good causes including many small charities unable to afford paid fund raisers. The initiative was an immediate success and became a tradition continued by subsequent Deans.