Northern Ireland has long struggled with reconciling different parts of their communities, but they have come together in the face of the current pandemic, demonstrating the triumph of common humanity over factional differences. Here are some heartwarming stories from Northern Irish communities.
Northern Ireland Unites in Supporting the NHS
Murals, usually associated with a divided Northern Ireland, have been used to unite the country in the face of the current COVID-19 crisis, as street artists use their work to support the NHS. One mural in East Belfast has been used to pay homage to World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore, who has raised more than £29m for the NHS. In Derry, brothers Mark, Peter and Dee Logan have transformed streets in the Waterside area of Derry to show their pride in the NHS and key workers. Mark said: ‘It’s all about recognising the work of the NHS. It doesn’t matter what side of the community you’re from, everyone is behind you.’ Read more.
Bonfire Builders Pay Tribute to NHS
A bonfire cancelled due to COVID-19 has been turned into a giant tribute to the NHS. More than 800 wooden pallets were used by the participants in Portadown to spell out ‘NHS’, and the team behind it plan to paint the structures and fly flags from it. Jordan Russell, chair of the local Create community group, said:’ It is 36 pallets high and took two days to build. These young people take pride in the bonfire and they were disappointed when they were told it wouldn’t be happening this year. Building the sign for the NHS has given them something else to focus on and have a sense of pride in. We don’t want people to gather at it and we hope to put a fence round it to discourage this.’ Find out more.
Coastguard Brighten Up Birthday for Ballycastle Boy
Enda McAuley, from Ballycastle, County Antrim, was looking forward to celebrating his fourth birthday with his friends. Unfortunately, his plans were scuppered by the current lockdown measures. Luckily, he was surprised by the flashing lights of two coastguard vehicles at his door, with a surprise rendition of Happy Birthday and a present from the rescue volunteers. His father, Patrick (also a rescue volunteer), said: ‘He’s been missing his wee friends at nursery, but my wife Roisin and I asked him if it was better than a party and he said yes.’ Read more.
Crochet Group Knits Bears to Comfort A&E Workers’ Kids
A crochet group from the Antrim High Street Presbyterian Church have been knitting bespoke bears to comfort the children of A&E workers who are busy working on the frontlines. After knitting a batch of their ‘Scrubs Hero Bears’, many medics then spray the bear with their favourite perfume or aftershave.Each bear comes with a message attached: “Scrubs Hero Bear would like to keep you company while your Mum or Dad is working so hard to help people who are sick. Your Mum or Dad is a Scrubs Hero so Scrubs would love to be Your Hero Too”. Find out more.