By David Telford
A CROSSGAR cafe may be the last place you would expect to come across a bush tucker trial, but that's exactly what happened last Friday night.
sandwiches and tray bakes are normally the order of the day at Cafe Q in Downpatrick Street, the menu last weekend was a little bit more exotic to say the least. Buns and biscuits were replaced by cooked crickets, baby eels, grubs, squid and baby octopus. And for those with a sweet tooth there was cheesecake topped with edible ants.
The fundraising initiative was organised by cafe owner Hugh Bell to raise funds for the Declan McMullan Trust. The Trust was set up to raise money to allow Declan's parents, who live in Crossgar, to modify their home to accommodate their son's needs and purchase a specially adapted vehicle to ferry him around.
Hugh set his target at £500 and while he later conceded he would have been happy with £300, he could not believe the generosity of local people and the business community.
The grand total after every penny had been counted was £700 and Hugh said he's been "overwhelmed and blown away" by the generosity of others.
"I wanted to organise a fundraising initiative with a difference and while my wife Eileen and I were watching I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here on television, she suggested the bush tucker trial.
"I surfed the internet for edible insects and came across a website which ticked all the boxes. I placed the order and the bush tucker arrived and took centre stage last Friday night."
Hugh said all the insects were real and that women in Crossgar were a little braver than the men when it came to getting the food down the hatch.
"I advertised the event using posters and there was a lot of debate on Facebook. One lady said she would donate £60 if I would eat some of the insects and when I did she kept her side of the bargain and handed over the cash," he continued. "The craic on the night was brilliant and about 50 people supported the event. To have raised £700 is really wonderful. Everyone entered into the spirit of the fundraiser and had great fun."
Hugh said a number of Crossgar women whom he suspected would not eat any of the bush tucker rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in. He said Declan and other members of the McMullan family also supported the event.
"I suppose you could say it was a quirky fundraiser with a difference and the success of the event was down to the generosity of the people of Crossgar and local businesses," he said.
Hugh added: "I am indebted to Crossgar Foodservice, Eden Flowers and Michael Shepperd Photography for their support. All the photos taken on the night are being printed and will be put on display on the shop for all to see."