‘We can’t give money to our athletes if we haven’t got any.  And so, Black Santa has been supportive.’  Words spoken by Lady Mary Peters, founder of the Mary Peters Trust, about the significance of the Black Santa campaign.


More than just finance


Whilst providing around 150 bursaries to athletes each year to assist with equipment and travel is vitally important, the trust also provides other crucial services as explained by Lady Mary Peters. ‘We give them other advice about how to deal with the media, deal with social media which can be very dangerous if not handled properly and nutrition and training. We have been doing some podcasts about their mental health and what their plans are for the future.’ 

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Never give up


Mary Peters Trust has supported a number of athletes from across Northern Ireland, regardless of backgrounds or abilities. ‘We support them if they represent Ireland or Great Britain.  We contribute to them if they are able bodied or if they have a disability.’ Whilst appealing for help during covid, the trust had a very willing volunteer.  ‘We had a young lady at Fleming Fulton school and got a new cycle wheelchair.  She did 11 laps of my track and raised over £5000 for us and I just love that kind of attitude.  Her quote is, ‘never give up’.  She did that for able bodied people that she doesn’t even know.’


Great ambassadors


In the past, the Mary Peters Trust has supported some of Northern Ireland’s leading athletes, including Carl Frampton. ‘He’s now able to follow up the kind of work that we have done to help other young boxers and other young sports people.  He experienced it himself, having struggled in the early days to now being a very wealthy, healthy young man.  He’s very supportive of us and will be giving back.’ Whilst Rory McIlroy never required financial support from the trust, they did honour him with an award ‘because of the good news he has brought about Northern Ireland around the world.’


One of the main things for the trust is highlighting what Northern Ireland has to offer, ‘we get so much pleasure out of seeing the young people of Northern Ireland travelling all over the world and representing us as great ambassadors.’