FRIENDS and neighbours of the late Concepta Leonard are in the process of organising the ultimate fundraising event in her memory.
Connie, as she was known by family and friends, was murdered in her Maguiresbridge home at the hands of her former partner Peadar Phair on May 15. 
Her untimely and horrific death came as a huge shock to family and friends.
But determined that her death should not be in vain, the group of neighbours from the Abbey Road in Maguiresbridge, known to each other as ‘The Road Crew’, have organised a fundraising event in her memory, with all proceeds going to Fermanagh Women’s Aid.
Last week the Impartial Reporter revealed that the local charity designed to protect women and children from domestic violence was facing a 6.5 per cent funding cut from the Department for Communities.
The Road Crew are hoping their fundraiser will go some way to make up for the government imposed funding cut this year.
“We can’t change what has happened to our friend but we can do whatever we can to help other women needing help by continuing to raise the profile and funds for Fermanagh Women’s Aid,” said one of the Road Crew members, Debbie Armstrong. 
“It is a charity close to all our hearts now. It seemed to be the most natural decision to raise funds for them.”
The friends all fondly remember Connie as “a beautiful and kind woman” who was “always in the thick of any Road Crew party or barbecue we had”.  
“She was kind to our children and had a brilliant sense of humour,” says Debbie. 
“She also loved to cook so any event we had she’d be there with trays and trays of food!  
“Connie always was a glass half full person and always optimistic, thinking about the positives rather than negatives. That is part of the reason why we want to do this event -- Connie would not want us to sit still and be sad.”
Connie had been awaiting one-to-one services with Fermanagh Women’s Aid at the time of her death.
“We are not surprised that Women’s Aid are getting their funding cut because of the current financial position but it’s short-sighted,” said Debbie, “In the long-run the suffering and pain women and children have to go through costs society more due to other impacts on their lives that will also cost the public purse, for example housing, mental health. In our view, Fermanagh Women’s Aid is an essential service -- they are helping to save lives and therefore should be funded as such.”
The fundraising event, ‘Who Dares Wins’, is laying down the gauntlet to members of the public to challenge themselves to do something they find scary or daunting.
“We wanted to do something that would be fun, challenging and get an important message across and to also convert our shock and sadness into action and something positive,” said Debbie, “The idea is people come forward and pledge a dare or a challenge.  This needs to be safe and legal and people need to volunteer themselves, but the sentiment is that no matter how difficult or scary your challenge is, it’s never going to be as challenging as living with abuse. We also want to get another message across to say that with the right support from family and friends, you can do something that is challenging or scary - whether it’s getting on stage and singing a song or shaving off your beard or asking for help if you are in an abusive relationship.”
The fundraiser will culminate in a special event at the Enniskillen Hotel on September 16 at 7.30pm.
“If you’re not too keen on doing a dare, that’s fine too, you can sponsor someone who is or buy a ticket and come on the night and watch all of us do our dares!” said Debbie, “It’s going to be a fun night with lots of raffle prizes and prizes for those who raise the most money.
“We will invite eight to 10 dares on the night and people can either take photos or a video of their dares before the night and we will show some of them on the night as well.”
For more information go to the Maguiresbridge Who Dares Wins Facebook page or email
Tickets are available from Eventbrite (just search for Maguiresbridge Who Dares Wins) or from Fermanagh Women’s Aid directly. 
“Every pound we raise is going towards an essential service and we hope to raise as much as we can,” said Debbie.