HUNDREDS OF children across Ireland were left disappointed when the coronavirus pandemic meant that their Communion was called off.
As an eight-year-old, a full year of studying your religion, learning hymns and prayers, going to your first confession and preparing for the big day in school usually culminates in one of the best memories of an Irish childhood: your holy Communion day.
Of course, with the whole world on pause for the time being, this year's Communion class were left disappointed-- but one girl in County Cork has decided to make the best of it.
Lucy Hall, from Douglas, was due to make her Communion this month, but is now putting her unused dress to good use by launching a unique-- and fun-- campaign to raise funds for Barnados, a charity which helps vulnerable children and their families in need.
Her mother, Jill, helped her set up a GoFundMe where she announced she would "dress up in her communion dress...and undertake as many fun challenges as she can".
"My daughter was a little disappointed when her communion was cancelled", Jill wrote on the fundraising page, "so she decided that she wants to help other children who are less fortunate [than] her."
And so, last Saturday Lucy undertook a sports day challenge-- battling it out with her family in an egg and spoon race, tug o'war, sack races and a game of Camogie-- and her grandfather helped her to build a cart for the unusual big day.
She even created TikTok videos in a river, all while wearing the holy white dress-- which wasn't so white by the end of it.
Her mother told The Irish Examiner:
"Lucy really turned a negative into a positive."
"She did 20 different sports. She cycled through the McDonald's empty drive thru, Camogie and sack races. She was up to everything."
"It was a win-win because she enjoyed it and she made money for charity. She will always have the memories of the special day. She wanted to help others less fortunate than her.”
So far, Lucy's campaign has raised over €800 for Barnados, who are now under added pressure to help children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We are rapidly adapting to meet the new needs of families," Barnados writes on their website.
" The families we work with, who were already living in stressful situations, are now experiencing a pressure cooker effect – children are living with domestic abuse, parental mental health challenges, neglect, acrimonious separation and family breakdown and addiction – now with no escape. "
To check out Lucy's GoFundMe campaign, complete with more pictures and videos of her big fundraising day out, you can visit the page here.
To learn more about eh work Barnados does, or to donate directly to them, you can visit their website here.