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South African teenage visitor gets to experience "so cool" snow for first time in Northern Ireland

Leah Visagie from South Africa witnesses her first snowfall on Divis Mountain while on holiday Picture by Mal McCann.
Marie Louise McConville

WHILE the snowfall and icy conditions prompted complaints from commuters yesterday the sudden flurries were welcomed elsewhere - with one young visitor from South Africa sampling her first experience of snow.

Leah Visagie, who is from Somerset West outside Capetown, arrived in Northern Ireland five weeks ago as part of an exchange programme.

The 16-year-old is staying with Baptist pastor Barrie Clingen and his wife and family at their home in Crumlin, Co Antrim.

The couple's 16-year-old daughter, Sarah Clingen visited Leah at her home in South Africa in the summer, staying for five weeks, as part of an exchange programme through her school, Antrim Grammar.

Having never seen or experienced snow before, Leah - whose home town is sweltering in 30C heat -was delighted when she woke up yesterday to a blanket of snow.

The teenager ventured to Divis Mountain with her hosts to take in the vistas and enjoy the winter wonderland.

Leah Visagie (left) from South Africa and Sarah Clingen from Crumlin play in the snow as Leah witnesses her first snowfall on Divis Mountain while on holiday. Picture by Mal McCann.

Leah Visagie from South Africa and Sarah Clingen play in the snow as Leah witnesses her first snowfall on Divis Mountain while on holiday Picture Mal McCann.

Leah said she was "so excited" to experience the snow.

"It's the first time I have touched it," she said.

"I was so excited. It was so cool. It was like catchable rain".

Leah, who was meant to return to home to South Africa on Monday, but decided to extend her trip, said she was "so glad" she stayed longer.

"I didn't think I was going to see it before I left," she said.

"It's really cool. We were having snowball fights. I'm going home next week, It's really hot back at home but I'm still loving it here."

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