From a young age, Oscar Davis McNamara always loved taking part in community-based events, from bake sales to swims.
The more events he went to, the more he realised how much he wanted to organise his very own event some day.
Coming from a loving family, he says his parents Trevor McNamara and Kate Davis Erangey have always supported his passion for helping his community.
“I also have a huge passion for cookery and baking, with my Granny, Francis McNamara, being an amazing baker and chef. Any weekend you would visit, as I called her since I was a young age ‘Granny Mc’, would have fresh scones made or her amazing award-winning queen cakes,” he says.
Oscar says he could see himself being a chef in a restaurant or owning his own bakery - a dream of his - but says he could also see himself becoming a home economics teacher.
“On the other side of things, I could definitely see myself working with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, as I have a huge passion for dogs. But when I volunteer for Irish Guide Dogs, it’s not just dogs, it’s supporting the people who need the dogs in their lives.
“No matter what job I get in life, I will never stop volunteering, I will always continue to fundraise and volunteer for my local community and wider charities, and support them in any way possible,” he says.
Oscar says his passion for helping others sparked when Covid first hit. He found moving to being schooled online very difficult and knew he had to do something to keep himself occupied.
He decided to organise his first ever fundraiser and chose to raise funds for Cork D.A.W.G. After a huge amount of effort, his ‘Cycle 65 miles to keep Dawg alive!’ fund- raising efforts came to fruition. After cycling 65 miles over the month of June, he raised €894.70.
He then went on to hold weekend fundraisers in aid of Irish Guide Dogs and Cork D.A.W.G at the end of April last year, which saw a Rock N Roll Bingo and raffle held in The BlackBird in Ballycotton and a community walk with a coffee morning and raffle held in The BlackBird afterwards.
“[That was] my biggest fund- raiser to date, and the support was truly unreal, with people coming down all the way from Innishannon, and the Rock N Roll Bingo selling out in all the four rounds, which has never happened before,” he said.
“I cannot explain how excited I was to count the funds once the fundraiser was over, and I was truly shocked when I found out that the total raised was €2,332.
“I was never so shocked before, as this was huge, a 13-year-old raising this much over one week- end.
“The support by the community was overly amazing, and the event wouldn’t have been possible without the support from my family and friends.”
In October, Oscar held an event at Midleton College in aid of Irish Guide Dogs which included a bake sale, souvenir stall, a meet and greet with the guide dogs, a training demonstration, and a PowerPoint presentation about the organisation.
He said that, with the help of Principal Dr Edward Gash, CSPE teacher Mr Richard Hobson, and the students that helped out on the day - Isobel Long, Scarlett Allen, Tamsin Allen, Rosie O’Donovan, Oscar Murphy, Melody O’Leary Reidy, Kevin Smith, Jeffery Keating and Ava Charalambous - it was a success, with a total of €1,432.50 raised.
Oscar has also volunteered with Ballycotton Tidy Towns for almost two years and says their support of his fundraising journey has been “amazing”.
He also volunteers with the Irish Cancer Society and other wider charities. Oscar says one of his proudest achievements to date is being nominated for Volunteer Of The Year, for which he was nominated by five charities. While he didn’t win, he says he does not fundraise to win but because he knows how much charities need these funds.
Oscar has set himself the ambitious goal of raising over €50,000 for charity this year and says that his friends are “a key part” of his fund-raising journey.
“I would like to mention one of my good friends, Ollie Killeen. I have been friends with Ollie since the start of first year. Ollie is a funny, supportive guy that anyone can talk to. Keeping my friends close is a priority to me, and they will always be a key part in my fund-raising journey.
Sharing his advice to other young people who want to volunteer and start fundraising, he encouraged them to go for it and get involved with the many charities that there are across the country.
Oscar says the best piece of advice he has received and that keeps him going is: ‘You’re never too young to make a difference’.