Auditor to make funds from charity single for Lily-Mae ‘a top priority’

Thousands of euro raised through a HMV-sold charity single to help a four-year-old in her battle to beat cancer could still be handed over — despite the retailer’s serious financial problems.

The auditor for the Irish section of HMV has confirmed he is “acutely aware” of the Lily-Mae Morrison situation and is making the funding issue a top priority to resolve.

The Galway girl is battling stage four neuroblastoma, a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer that attacks the nervous system and is diagnosed in about a dozen Irish infants every year.

About €27,000 was raised through a charity single version of Elton John’s hit ‘Tiny Dancer’, which reached number two in the Irish charts at Christmas and number one on iTunes.

Fears grew yesterday morning that this money — which was to be split between support for Lily-Mae and an advocacy group for other sufferers — would not be handed over.

This was because invoices for the sales of the charity single at HMV were only provided to the retailer in recent days, meaning raised money was likely to be caught up in HMV’s financial problems.

However, speaking on RTÉ Radio yesterday evening, the single’s producer, Stephen Macken, said progress has now been made. He said HMV Ireland’s appointed examiner, Deloitte partner David Carson, had called him to confirm he was aware of the situation.

While there are other pressing financial commitments that the retailer must meet, Mr Macken said the official stressed he will “absolutely look at this as a priority”.

The issue had earlier caused nationwide concern after Mr Macken told Newstalk that the money was “in limbo”.

He confirmed that “the chances of us being paid right now are pretty close to nil because we are an unsecured local supplier”, and that despite the best intentions of HMV workers there was little they could do.

A HMV spokesperson had earlier said he could not confirm if the money would be paid.

“I cannot comment on that as we are in the process of administration, but we make every effort to commit to charities. HMV have always done their best to support charity singles and albums, by giving them space in their stores,” he said.

Lily-Mae is currently in isolation for the next seven weeks due to the intense treatment she has to undergo.

Should the €27,000 eventually be handed over, it will be split between support for the four-year-old — whose parents are both dancers — and support groups the Sunni Mae Trust and the Neuroblastoma Society.

A further €19,000 has been raised through iTunes sales, while smaller amounts have also accumulated as a result of other charity drives.

‘Tiny Dancer: A Song For Lily-Mae’ is one of the fastest selling charity singles ever produced in Ireland, and includes vocals from the likes of Mary Black, Mundy, and Paddy Casey.

HMV became involved in order to help the fundraising effort and did not take any payment for placing it prominently in its stores.

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