Belfast restaurateur Brian McGeown made headlines this summer for his epic marathon challenge.
The owner of Love & Death Inc and Aether & Echo famously ran from Cork to Belfast in aid of three charities close to his heart, The Children’s Heartbeat Trust, The Down ‘s Syndrome Association and mental health charity, Mind Your Mate and Yourself.
Making this a staggering total of nine marathons in an astonishing nine consecutive days.
Now Brian is getting ready to cook Christmas dinner – for hundreds of Belfast’s homeless on December 25.
Yes, when we are all tucked up in bed waiting for Santa after a few (too many) at the pub, Brian is waiting until the close of business on Christmas Eve, when he starts his prep at Aether and Echo:
“After five or six hours prep work at A&E, I go down to the Welcome Centre where I prepare dinner for a couple more hours, with three to four of my staff also volunteering on the big day to come down and help serve all of the food.”
“This is a great, three-course meal of good quality meat and vegetables and all the trimmings, that they simply wouldn’t be getting otherwise.”
Not only is Brian generous with his time on one of the most special days of the year, but he generously paid for all of the costs last year out of his own pocket.
This year, Aether & Echo is hosting the ‘Big Effing Christmas Charity Pub Quiz.‘
Starting at 7.30pm, the quiz is being held in association with the Welcome Organisation, with all of the proceeds going towards feeding the homeless this Christmas.
£5 entry per person or if you can’t make why not drop in £5 and pay for someone’s dinner this Christmas.
All extra proceeds will also be going to a great cause. As Brian explained:
“We’re hoping to raise between £300 – 400, which will go towards good quality meats and the costs of the food. Anything additional raised will go towards hats and scarves, which the Welcome Organisation is in desperate need for.”
The popular Belfast hotspot is also running a fantastic incentive which sees the exchange of necessary items. Dubbed ‘Giving in the Name of Beer,’ in other words, you will receive a free pint of Guinness, bottle of Coors light or a Bushmills whiskey miniature for your donations:
“This is a really cool incentive, which basically offers people the opportunity to give back. I often find people would like to do more for charity, but don’t actually know how to go about it,” Brian explained.
“This offers people a fun vehicle for that. So if you go to Poundland and spend four or five quid, come to the bar and we’ll set you up with a nice drink to say thank-you.”
“It really is a gesture of people’s kindness. Just yesterday for example, I had someone come in who had spent £15-20 on toiletries that the Welcome Centre desperately needs. But when I offered him a drink, he said he didn’t want one, just that he thought it was a fantastic idea.”
“It just shows you that people obviously want to give, they just don’t always know how.”
You can also donate clothes you may have recently purchased that are too small (it is Christmas after all, so who can blame you).
The Welcome Centre would also appreciate further donations of toiletries, underwear and warm clothes.
Check out Aether & Echo’s Facebook for more info on how you can donate, as well as info on Sunday’s pub quiz.