Down Royal win for YouthAction NI ahead of Boxing Day Race Meeting
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has provided a massive boost to local charity YouthAction NI by donating a six-figure sum to the Belfast-based organisation.
The businessman, who was a guest of the charity earlier this year when he was invited to speak to young people about the secret of his success as an international businessman, delighted the organisation when he pledged to hand over any winnings he might make at the Down Royal Festival of Racing.
In all, the County Westmeath-based Gigginstown stable secured £100,000 from three races at the event and the money was handed over to the charity earlier this week.
June Trimble MBE, Chief Executive of YouthAction NI, which is celebrating 70 years of helping vulnerable teenagers and young adults here, said this significant donation would help more 14-25 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain qualifications and employment.
"We are so proud of the work we do, and to have that recognised by someone of Michael O’Leary’s status is a fantastic endorsement. When he visited us in Belfast, Michael had very clear messages for young people. He told them to persevere, to work hard and also to enjoy what they did.
"This incredibly generous donation will make a considerable difference to the lives of young people across Northern Ireland, recruiting and involving young people in educational programmes to maximise skills, qualifications and work experiences.
"We particularly target those young people living in challenging circumstances, and this money will enable us to extend our reach, helping more young people than ever before.”
James Nicholson OBE, Down Royal Chairman and Vice Chairman of YouthAction NI, described the donation as a fantastic gesture.
"Michael O’Leary was a much-welcomed and inspirational guest of YouthAction in October. To pledge his Down Royal winnings was amazingly kind, but even more so considering the substantial sum that was won by his stable.
"This incredibly gracious donation will allow the work done by YouthAction to continue apace, changing the lives of the young people we work with on a daily basis.”
Mike Todd, General Manager at Down Royal Race Course which is gearing for the popular Boxing Day Race event, said Michael O’Leary’s success in the racing world meant this was always going to be a very generous offer.
"Gigginstown House Stud has owned many stars of the National Hunt World, including the 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winning ‘War of Attrition’. We’re delighted at their success during this year’s prestigious Festival of Racing, and even more so because Youth Action NI benefited so much from this.”