Meet The Butcher Who Has Raised €1.4 million

Posted: 18th April 2017

Meet The Butcher Raising €1.4m

Posted: 18th Apr 2017

Kildare based and award winning master butcher James Nolan will oversee the 28th running of the ‘Please Carry A Donor Card’ Punchestown Charity Race on Saturday 29th April at the Punchestown Festival. James, a donor kidney recipient himself, established the race in 1990 which has raised over €1.4 million to date.

Last year and 2017 have exciting times for The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund with over €275,000 committed to various projects including: 

  • €150,000 to support a new renal unit at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin.
  • €100,000 to support two kidney related research projects under the guidance of the Irish Nephrology Society.
  • €20,000 to continue our Art Therapy programmes for dialysis patients in Tallaght & Waterford Dialysis Units.
  • €5,000 to our sports programme for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.

Traditionally the concluding race of the entire event, the Please Carry A Donor Card charity race provides a fitting finale to the Festival.  All 25 jockeys come from every walk of life and have varying levels of horse riding experience. In order to participate each must pass an affiliated fitness assessment at RACE, the Irish racing academy, and all must raise at least €1,250 for The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund. Participation is a big undertaking with all those taking part having to commit to full training schedule including months of early mornings riding out on the gallops with professional trainers and jockeys.

There is a strong Kildare representation in this year’s renewal with Lily Whites Maria Kelly (Sallins), Richy Walsh (Naas) and Kilcullen’s Siobhan O’Sullivan taking part.

In the past, funds raised from the race have been channelled to a number of extremely worthwhile projects including: 

  •     The purchase of a holiday home in Tralee, Co. Kerry specifically designed for kidney dialysis patients and their families allowing them to have a well-deserved break whilst being able to continue their life saving dialysis treatments.
  • Sponsorship of a Newman Scholar at U.C.D. under the stewardship of Dr. Bill Watson to research better ways to transport kidneys prior to transplantation.
  • Support of a cancer screening programme for kidney recipients under Dr. Gillian Murphy, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
  • Sponsorship of an Art Therapy programme for dialysis patients in both Tallaght and Waterford Hospitals. This is where art lessons are provided for patients while they are receiving dialysis treatment. A novel idea as it makes treatment more bearable and allows the patients to learn and develop creative skills.
  • Sponsor transplant recipients to represent Ireland at the World & European Transplant Games.
  • Sponsored the Home Haemo Dialysis Training Unit at Beaumont Hospital, National Transplant Centre, where patients are trained to do their own dialysis in the comfort of their own Home.

Looking forward to next week’s festival finale, founder and organiser James Nolan said “The Carry An Organ Card Punchestown Charity race is making a big difference to so many people’s lives. In September 2017 we look forward to the opening of a brand new renal ward in Temple Street Children's Hospital for children suffering from kidney disease.  This has been one of the main projects for the PKRF over the past two years and it will be a major benefit to all the children, doctors, nurses and families that attend Temple Street Children’s Hospital.

Nolan continued with this message “The aim of the PKRF is not only to raise funds but also to raise awareness and ask people to carry donor cards that are available in most pharmacies. I was so lucky to receive a transplant from my sister Catherine in 1987. She gave me the gift of life and 30 years on it is still the greatest gift that I have ever received”.

The 2017 Punchestown Festival takes place from Tuesday 25th to Saturday 29th April. Full event information and tickets are available on

For further information on the PKRF Charity Race and fundraising efforts please contact:

James Nolan, Phone: 086 2349919 or Email:


Shona Dreaper Punchestown Racecourse |Naas | Co Kildare | Ireland

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