Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone grandmother walks more than 100 miles to mark grandson's first birthday and raise funds for charity

Ardboe grandmother, Rose Daly, who walked more than 100 miles to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and raise funds for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust NI and Our Lady’s Hospital in Dublin, where her one-year-old grandson, Barra was treated when he was born with a condition called `Transposition of the Great Arteries'.
Marie Louise McConville

A CO Tyrone grandmother has walked more than 100 miles to mark her grandson's first birthday and support children with congenital heart disease (CHD).

Rose Daly, a grandmother-of-11, walked 33 laps of an old airfield near her Arboe home over four days.

The walk celebrated her grandson Barra's birthday and raised funds for the Children's Heartbeat Trust NI and Our Lady's Hospital in Dublin.

Both the charity and hospital were instrumental in helping Barra, who was born with a condition called Transposition of the Great Arteries.

Just 20 minutes after he was born on October 28 last year, Barra underwent surgery and three days later, when he was stabilised, specialists performed an 11-hour surgery on him.

He spent one month recovering in Dublin before he was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for ongoing treatment.

To mark Barra's milestone first birthday, Rose said she wanted to do something special that would also help other children and those who care for them.

Joined by neighbours and friends - who all socially distanced - Rose walked eight hours a day, completing more than 100 miles in four days and has raised £10,000.

Speaking to The Irish News, the 60-year-old said she had originally intended to walk from Belfast to Dublin, however Covid-19 restrictions meant it could not happen.

"I wanted to do something for Barra, to give something back to the Crumlin Hospital and the Children's Heartbeat Trust NI, they help these children first hand," she said.

"Even to think about it now, is dreadful. Thank God he came through it and he has never looked behind. I wanted to mark his first birthday. I can't believe how kind and good people are and how generous they have been especially when they are short of money and jobs.

"Every day I had lots of people, all my friends and people from Ardboe, and they walked with me and kept me going. I am truly thankful to them and also my family as well."

Barra's mother, Gemma Hutton said she was thankful to her mother.

The mother-of-six, who lives in Cookstown, said she was "amazed" by Barra.

"We can look back at Barra’s journey and be so truly grateful to have a healthy, happy, beautiful boy in our arms," she said.

"Mum and I hope to raise awareness of CHD and also raise some funds to help the work of Our Lady’s Hospital and the Children’s Heartbeat Trust NI, who look after many families in similar positions."

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