Grace auctions off signed Ireland rugby shirt for charity

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A NEWTOWNABBEY woman is auctioning off Tommy Bowe’s signed Ireland rugby shirt to help raise funds for her charity trek through the Grand Canyon.

Grace Gilmour, from the Cullyburn Road area has been fundraising for the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast for the past 10 months.

The 20-year-old has so far exceeded her initial £3,000 target and raised over £4,300 for the mammoth 82km trek.

Grace said: “It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. I was just on the website and saw the trek and thought it was a great way to raise money for the charity.

“Both my grandparents had cancer and last year my granddad died of cancer, so it’s a cause very close to me.

“Marie Curie provides a great support to cancer sufferers and their families.”

Grace thanked all those who have helped contribute to her sponsorship, including Newtownabbey Borough Council.

“I wrote to a lot of friends and family who were a fantastic help. I held three sales through the summer and raised lots of cash as well as other fundraisers,” she said.

Grace, a History student at Belfast Metropolitan College, is in the final stages of her preparation for the Grand Canyon Trek on May 7.

She continued: “It will be no walk in the park and it will be very warm.

“I have been training to keep my general fitness up with a lot of walking and will be hiking Slieve Bearnagh in the Mournes as a final preparation.

“It will be tough but a lot of fun - I am really looking forward to it.”

Grace has a genuine signed Ireland Tommy Bowe rugby shirt to auction off.

A keen showjumper, Grace was given the shirt by the winger’s mother.

Grace is hoping to raise another £1,500 through the auction, and to place a bid email: Grace also has a website for donations -