Coleraine’s ‘caring caretaker’ David Boyle hopes his 20th annual sit-out will help him surpass £600,000 for charity.
Mr Boyle, 65, has been braving the cold in Coleraine town centre each year during the lead-up to Christmas since 1998 and has already raised well over half a million pounds for various charities over the decades.
Known as the ‘caring caretaker’ for his job with the local council, Mr Boyle’s dedication has helped dozens of local charities over the years as he braves the cold December days.
Speaking on his first day of the 20th anniversary sit-out on Monday, the Coleraine FC fanatic said: “I’m sitting at £568,000 now so I hope to get over the £600,000 this year. It’s taken me 19 years to get up to that and this will be my 20th year.
“I worked in the town hall as a caretaker and I worked with many people who were disabled over the years, getting them to their seats for concerts and other things, so I wanted to try and make their lives better in some small way.
“It all kicked off from there and I’ve been at it ever since. I’ve now done about 40 Northern Ireland charities over the years — cancer, heart, autism charities, an orphanage in Malawi, all sorts.”
He continued: “This year I’m doing it for the NI Children’s Heartbeat Trust, the Alzheimer’s Society, the neonatal unit in the Royal (Victoria Hospital, Belfast), and a charity called Charlene’s Project.”
The caring caretaker also had some kind words for the generous people who have donated over the years.
“The generosity of people is over the moon, from people coming into shop or businessmen going about their day,” he said.
He joked: “I’ve put over a stone of weight with people leaving food and coffees and things for me.”
Asked how he keeps himself warm during the cold December days, Mr Boyle said: “I’ve got too many layers of long johns on me - you wouldn’t want to know!”