SPAR NI has announced that during its recent Blooming Great Tea Parties and four days activity at Balmoral Show, it has raised over £90,000 for charity partner, Marie Curie.

SPAR’s sea of red hats returned to Balmoral Show this year, bringing in £18,260 as show goers donated what they could in return for one of the most in-demand products at the Show.

Following this fantastic total, generous shoppers helped 220 stores across Northern Ireland raise £74,876 during the Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party morning on 16 June.

Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group, Bronagh Luke, is delighted with the engagement shoppers have with the brand and the charity, saying; “Once again, it was hard to escape the red hats at Balmoral Show, but these hard-working hats stole the show by raising a fantastic £18,260 for the palliative care charity.

“Marie Curie has been our charity partner since March 2017, and this latest influx in donations has taken us comfortably over the £200,000 mark in total funds raised, which equates to over 10,350 hours of community nursing services. Many great fundraising initiatives were undertaken by our retailers to reach this amount, including the recent Blooming Great Tea Parties which raised almost £75,000 – more than double the 2017 total.”

Conor O’Kane, Senior Partnership Manager at Marie Curie added; “SPAR in Northern Ireland has now raised over £207,000 in just over a year to ensure the services we provide to terminally ill patients are readily available across all communities.

“SPAR NI hold the biggest Blooming Great Tea Party in Northern Ireland, where  220 stores came together to have fun with fundraising, involve their community and do all they could for our organisation and for that, we are so grateful to receive this amazing sum of money.”

Bronagh continued; “I’d also like to extend a special thanks to the Irish News and our supplier partners, Kingsmill and Ormo who donated 10p from the sale of every white sliced loaf, six-pack pancakes and copy of the Irish News Weekend newspaper sold over the Blooming Great Tea Party weekend, helping us reach our landmark total.”

At Balmoral, SPAR also partnered with their local suppliers to celebrate their commitment to sourcing 75% of its fresh products from local farmers, producers and growers here. 20 producers of the SPAR enjoy local range, including Clandeboye Estate Yogurts and Ballygarvey Eggs, sampled their goods with 42,000 of the hungry crowds with their delicious local products across the four days.

SPAR’s partners, Ulster University and their Food and Consumer Testing Suite, were on hand to launch the very first ‘Super Taster’ campaign for SPAR. Just 25% of the population are classified as Supertasters – and this initiative was aimed at finding them.  A massive 225 Supertasters were recruited at The Balmoral Show, many of whom will qualify as SPAR Brand Ambassadors.

In the enjoy local marquee, a series of CPR and defibrillator awareness sessions with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) were held as part of SPAR’s ambition to install over 300 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) outside stores in Northern Ireland with the Heart of our Community campaign.

Throughout the four days, 3,000 people engaged with NIAS, while over 1,500 took the opportunity to practice CPR and use a defibrillator on the manikins.

Stephanie Leckey, Community Resuscitation Lead at NIAS added; “The Community Resuscitation Team for Northern Ireland thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Balmoral Show this year, engaging with the visitors to educate them on CPR and defibrillator use. We hope those who learnt more about CPR will be less fearful to intervene in an emergency and will understand more to dispel the myths of CPR and using an AED in the future.”