Co-founders looking forward to retirement after eight years at helm of charity
The George Best Foundation, established eight years ago, following the tragic passing of Belfast’s most famous footballing son, is to be wound up.
George’s sister and co-founder of the Foundation, Barbara McNarry, said today the Foundation could be justifiably proud of its role in helping young people and medical research but after eight ‘extremely busy years’ she and her husband Norman were looking forward to enjoying their retirement.
“This has been something we have been contemplating for some now time,” said Barbara. “We feel, after putting our hearts and souls into the work of the Foundation for eight years, we have taken it as far as we can. We have been privileged to have been able to donate more than £280,000 to a wide range of recipients since the establishment of the Foundation.”
Barbara McNarry, who left her post in the civil service to work for the Foundation, paid tribute to all of those who had helped raise the profile and promote the work of the charity including those who had served on the Foundation Board.
“The Foundation was born several months after George’s passing because myself and Norman just felt completely overwhelmed by the public emotion and response. I believe George would be proud of how the Foundation has been able to assist a whole host of good causes. As well as funding the George Best Football Academy at Belfast Met which is the first ever academy in Northern Ireland for young men aged between 16-19 and which incorporates an educational qualification programme The Foundation has been able to donate £100,000 to employ a full time research scientist for the Foundation for Liver Research, help Transplant Games teenagers, provide sports equipment for children in Africa and support cross community multi-sport based initiatives including children with disabilities on programmes that include educational advice on nutrition and drug and alcohol awareness.
“It has a been demanding but wonderfully rewarding eight years, but we believe a combination of my recent ill-health and our desire to spend more time together in our retirement mean this is the right course of action at the right time.”
George Best Foundation chairman, Terence Brannigan, paid tribute to the sterling work – much of it behind the scenes – conducted by Barbara and Norman over the past eight years.
“They have worked tirelessly and have earned the right to step outside the public eye and enjoy their retirement together. I wish them well,” he said.