Community helps to raise £9,000 for Lily

Lisburn Mayor Andrew Ewing with Lily O'Hara
Lisburn Mayor Andrew Ewing with Lily O'Hara

The Low Road and East Belfast community helped to raise around £9,000 for Lily O’Hara, the 91-year-old woman who lost her life savings following a break-in at her home, last week.

Davy Doran, a former neighbour started off the fundraising campaign along with his cousin William Donaghy, said that he was overwhelmed with the generosity in the community.

Lily’s house was broken into while she visited her son at his chip shop premises in East Belfast. Her life savings that were taken were being used to help cover her funeral costs.

The money will be handed over to the family on Saturday at Old Warren.

“Within around 24 hours of us starting the fundraising we had raised £4,000,” said a delighted Davy. “We had a Facebook and a fundraising page which are now closed,

“When we approached local shops they were more than generous. I lifted £900 alone just last night.

“People are still approaching me and if they still want to donate they can do so by contacting us but we are looking to wind it up within the next few days.

“I have had people who cannot use the internet just simply calling to my door. The Spar on the Low Road raised money as did other businesses on the Low Road.

“An ex-employee of the family chip shop also collected cash in East Belfast.”

Davy said that he was really delighted to raise the money for Lily, an ex neighbour. This week he was approached by a woman whose parents were held up at gun point and robbed who wanted to give a donation, and Forthill College also handed over money.

“I know that the family really appreciate the support,” said Davy. “There was a get together for the community at Lily’s home at the weekend to thank everyone for their support and Lily and I know she was very pleased at what we were doing.

“Lily is a great lady. She is made of iron. Anything that happens to her just makes her stronger.”

Meanwhile the Commissioner for Older People, Claire Keatinge, has renewed her call to the PSNI and Policing Board for specific targets to be put in place to reduce crime against older people following a recent spate of burglaries across Northern Ireland.

“This recent spate of crime in the run up to Christmas will make many older people fearful,” she said. “It is essential that steps are taken to bring offenders to justice quickly and prevent further crime.

“Crime against older people is universally condemned across our society and although the level of violent crime and burglary against older people is relatively low in Northern Ireland.”