As a result of the fund, many children from South Hill were able to visit the Boston area and stay as guests by supporters of the fund. In May, State Sen. Jack Hart accompanied Billy Higgins to Ireland where they dissipated in a golf tournament organized by a local committee which funds raised going to be support of the Southill Junior School.
The organizers of the Golf Tournament were anxious to demonstrate to Billy that the Southill Children’s Fund in Boston was not alone in its efforts on behalf of the Southill kids. Inspired by his 17 years of devotion to the fund Higgins started, they had organized this golf tournament which was very successful and is anticipated to become an annual event. Meanwhile, Billy continues to lead the efforts to raise funds for the Southill Children’s Fund in this country. Not only have 300 Southill kids been able to enjoy visits to America, but through the kindness of supporters, money has been donated to the local school for the purchase of computers and other needed items. Higgins has been honored in Limerick with the naming of the Billy Higgins Diverse Learning Center at the Industrial Technical Thousands of Greater Bostonians were treated to great musical shows put on by the talented musicians, singers and dancers from Southill presented at various church halls throughout the area.
In focusing on ways to help the kids in Ireland, Higgins had to say: “We are trying to focus on kids with special talents. Can a sing, play a musical instrument? Are a very good in soccer, boxing, wrestling, golf? That’s also why the computers we donated are so important. Without them, they can’t connect to today’s modern way of doing things. With them, they are equals with other children around the world,” said Higgins.I would like now to share with our readers the letter received by Higgins and the City Paper since our special in-depth story appeared in print.
The first letter was received from the office of the
Irish Council in Boston.
Mr. Paul Feeney, Publisher
Boston City Paper
10 July 2002
Thank you for your kind letter and the enclosures. I am writing on behalf of the Council General, Orla O’Hanrahan , who is on vacation and will then be returning to Ireland on transfer. The incoming Council General,Isolde Moylan, will be arriving at the beginning of August. I had occasion with Billy Higgins and I am very glad to have done so. His work is of great value, especially during these times of prosperity in Ireland when those less fortunate need to be remembered even more. Thank you again and if I, or the Consulate, can be of assistance, please contact us.
Consulate General Ireland, Boston
Southill Junior School
27 TH May, 2002
To: Billy Higgins
Southill Children’s Fund
I would like to thank you most sincerely for your very kind donation to our school during your recent visit to Limerick. Your presence at Mass on the Sunday and your social visit to the school afterwards was most appreciated by all. Pupils, teachers, parents, clergy and other members of the community where most touched by your very genuine interest in Southill which was also evident in Sen. Jack Hart and Ed Kelly’s interaction with everybody. Your ongoing affection and generosity for our children is highly commendable and appreciated by all. I wish continued success to you, your family and friends in the forward to seeing you when you are in Southill again.
Office of the Prime Minister
I am delighted to have this opportunity to commend you on your excellent work as founder and driving force behind the Billy Higgins Southill Children’s Fund.I know that since the mid-1980s you have been bringing children from Southill to Boston and, in so many other ways, including support and education and training, seeking to improve their lives. Your many friends and admirers and Memory and beyond-especially those in Southill whose lives you have touched-are unstinting in their praise of your work. I want to add my voice to theirs and wish you well in the future as you continue your great work. With warmest personal regards.
Bertie Ahearn T.D.
The Holy Family Parrish
27th May 2002
Sincere thanks for your kind and generous gift on your recent visit to our parish. We were truly honored by your presence, and also by your friends Senate is Jack Hart and Ed Kelly Southill’s biggest problem is that it is like for the most part by the powers that be, and we are left on our own with little resources to help people with special needs in our community. Your visits to us are always memorable for the care and concern you show to those who are on the margins. Those of us who work for the community have our faith renewed and our hope was restored by your continuing interest in our affairs. On behalf of the parish of Holy Family I wish to place on record our sincere gratitude for all you continue to do for our community. Wishing you every success in your great work.
Tom P Carroll P.P.
The work continues. Billy Higgins is very, very thankful to the hundreds of donors who have supported this project since its inception. On his first visit to Limerick, the Southill Housing Development reminded him of the D Street Projects and what they were like when he was a kid growing up in South Boston in the 1940’s – 50’s. He remembered that he got a break – a helping hand from another and he knew how one event could turn around a bad situation. Billy was a talented mechanic and went on to own and operate his own gas station. This Connection is a two way street. Many kids from Boston have also been able to travel to Ireland. In addition, those who were kids when Billy started the fund over 15 years ago, became so close, personal friends of Billy and now as adults, and an avid skier and sailor and understands completely the importance of athletics in the lives of Southill and South Boston kids.