Country night in aid of Rachel

Country night in aid of Rachel

7 February 2024

A DETERMINED Killyleagh mother is organising a fundraising event so that her daughter can receive a life-changing surgery.

Katie Jennings has organised a charity concert at the Belmont Hotel in Banbridge on Friday night.

All proceeds of the event will go directly to Katie’s fundraising campaign for her daughter, Rachel Gribben, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.

In October 2022, Rachel was diagnosed with focal cortical dysplasia of the right frontal lobe, which causes her to have daily seizures.

Her mum has organised a series of fundraising events since November last year with the help of kind strangers to raise £20,000 for the surgery which will take place in Western Ukraine.

She told the Recorder: “A small part of Rachel’s brain didn’t develop in the womb, which resulted in her having refractory epilepsy.

“This is semi-controlled by drugs but there have been times during the night that we have had to give her rescue life medication, which has its side effects, leaving her tired and fatigued.”

Rachel suffers from four different types of seizures, which have taken their physical toll on Rachel.

The idea of the surgery is to remove the lesion – it won’t rid Rachel of the epilepsy but it will hopefully give her a better quality of life and stop her development from regressing any further.

Friday night’s concerts will feature a plethora of entertainers and singers, who are coming together to support Rachel.

Hosted by James Rodgers and the Barry Doyle Band, the show will include Conor McKay, Bonnie Stewart, Mary Hoey, Katie McParland, Shauna Kearns, Andrew McMurdie, Amber Campbell, Neil Hobson and Caoimhe Murney, plus many more great acts on the night.

While the focus will be on the music and the great acts, the event will also include a raffle which contains a variety of prizes and a collection will also be available on the night.

Tickets cost £10 and can be purchased at the hotel or from James Rodgers by contacting 07871 278030.

“I just want to say that I am so thankful for everyone who has made the effort to help Rachel in the led up to this event,” said Katie.

“We are leaving for Ukraine on March 18 and Rachel’s first surgery is set for March 21.

“The support people in the local community and beyond have given Rachel and our family is very humbling – it’s something we will never forget.”

For anyone who wishes to donate to Rachel’s surgery can do so at

You can also follow Rachel’s journey on Facebook at