Memorial Garden proposal gets overwhelming support

Andera Mc Aleese, Mum of Roma who tragically lost her life.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON
Andera Mc Aleese, Mum of Roma who tragically lost her life.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON
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A Coleraine mum who tragically lost her daughter says she has been ‘totally overwhelmed’ by the support shown by the local community for her plans to open a memorial garden for other grieving families.

Andrea McAleese’s little daughter Roma died after suffering fatal injuries after she was knocked down outside her Ashdale Park home back in 2009. Little Roma was just three.

Andrea is now lobbying local councillors for a memorial garden in Coleraine.

She has already identified a site near Council headquarters on the Portstewart Road.

After setting up a facebook page about her idea, this week Andrea told The Times that she is totally gobsmacked by the support shown by members of the public.

She has even received an offer from a landscape designer in Australia to design the garden for free.

An emotional Andrea told The Times that the ball was ‘starting to roll’ on the project, thanks to the help of local councillors and the community.

“I met with Adrian McQuillan MLA and Stephanie Quigley this week - they have both been very supportive.

“I am really overwhelmed by the support.

“In two days, we have raised £1,500, that’s not to mention the donations from clients in my salon.”

Andrea went on: “I think the response just goes to show that this is something that is needed in the community.

“I’ve been contacted by people from across the world. Stephen Todd, who is orginally from Coleriane, but now lives in Australia, is already working on plans for the garden.”

DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan met with Andrea last week. Describing her as ‘dedicated’, Adrian told The Times that the memorial garden was a project he couldn’t not support: “Andrea is a real inspiration to others.

“She’s been through hell and she deserves a wee bit of support.

“It’s all part of the healing process and I really hope that the public get behind this.”

SDLP councillor Stephanie Quigley was also inspired by Andrea’s story: “You couldn’t speak to Andrea and not be touched, “ told councillor Quigley.

“This is a cross community, cross party project, and I am really pleased to be able to support this.

“I believe that this is a project that is much needed in the borough.”

Already various events have been planned to help raise the money for the garden.