Farmer Joe & His John Deere Tractor

The Southern Area Hospice provides specialist palliative care and treatment for complex problems such as pain, symptom control or to address psychological, spiritual or social needs. With research indicating that approximately 1 in 3 people in Northern Ireland will develop cancer at some time in their lives and 1 in 4 will die from it, these funds are much needed as the Southern Area Hospice provides care free of charge to patients residing in the Southern Health Trust Area, from Kilkeel to Ballygawley and from Crossmaglen to Portadown.

Farmer Joe and his John Deere Tractor first took place in February and ran for a second time in April with over 2,000 people coming to see the play across the four nights. The show featured a specially built set that included a vintage 1120 John Deere Tractor, pre-recorded scenes shown on multiple screens around the room, a piper and a special cameo appearance from the Queen of Country Philomena Begley, and with plenty of hilarious farming humour.

Armagh Tigers Chairperson Kieran McAnallen commented: "When we set about planning the show we had no idea about the mammoth task we were undertaking. To run a show of this size is very costly and time consuming but we wanted to raise vital funds for the Southern Area Hospice and make a difference to those suffering in our community. There was a lot of buzz about the show with many people coming to see it for the first time knowing very little except what they had seen on social media or in the papers. The time and effort put in by the cast was spectacular, they really gave it their all and did so voluntarily. Whilst we would have liked to have been able to raise more funds for the Southern Area Hospice we are delighted to be able to contribute £10,000 towards their running costs this year."

Farmer Joe and members of the Tigers presenting cheque to Southern Area Hospice

The Southern Area Hospice cares for almost 1,000 patients annually and relies heavily on the generosity of local people and the support of a network of over 300 volunteers. Southern Area Hospice Fundraising Manager Majella Gollogly added:

"The Southern Area Hospice has the momentous task of funding approximately two thirds of the running costs of the Hospice annually. To date, this has only been made possible with the fantastic continued support from our volunteers and the local community across the Southern Health Board region in assisting the fundraising team throughout the year. We would like to thank the Armagh Tigers and the entire cast and production team of Farmer Joe for their donation to the Hospice this year."

If you would like to find out more about the Southern Area Hospice visit http://www.southernareahospiceservices.org