ANGEL OF HOPE GARDEN TO OPEN

Andrea McAleese, with a picture of her beloved daughter Roma who died five years ago, at the site where an Angel of Hope  Memorial Garden will be situated beside the Coleraine Borough Council offices on the Portstewart Road. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Andrea McAleese, with a picture of her beloved daughter Roma who died five years ago, at the site where an Angel of Hope Memorial Garden will be situated beside the Coleraine Borough Council offices on the Portstewart Road. PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
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The garden, dedicated to local children and young people who have lost their lives, will officially open in Coleraine this Sunday.

The specially designed ‘Angel of Hope Memorial Garden’ is the brain child of local woman Andrea McAleese.

Andrea tragically lost her little daughter Roma when she was knocked down outside her Coleraine home seven years ago. Roma would have been ten this year.

Located near Council headquarters at Cloonavin, Andrea believes the garden will be a place of ‘peace and comfort’ for local families who have lost children.

Andrea visited her little daughter’s grave every day for five years, but she dreamed of a place she could go to remember her little daughter.

When she first floated the idea of a memorial garden on her Facebook page almost three years ago, she was amazed by the support she received.

“I just knew I needed to do something because the loss of a child is not something anyone should ever have to live through without support.

“It’s not something anyone should ever be expected to get over,” she said.

After an array of fund raisers including a fire walk, a glass walk, parachute jumps, coffee mornings, fancy dress parties, discos and donations from local business and building suppliers, the garden is almost complete.

“I just thought that this day would never come. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support, I know that this garden will benefit so many local families,” she said.

The garden, designed by Stephen Todd, has been constructed by Ballyhackett builder John McGarvey. John sadly lost his daughter Kelly (30) back in January 2014.

It includes a curved wall which will contain stars with the names of local children and young people who have passed away too soon.

Andrea revealed that Manchester United legend Harry Gregg would be the guest of honour at Sunday’s opening.

“The garden will officially open on Sunday at 3pm,” she revealed.

“It will be a day aimed at the whole family. I want as many as possible to come along and see what their donations have achieved. We have raised £62,000 so far, but it will take around £70,000 to finish,” said the inspirational mum.