FORMER North Antrim MP., Rev. Ian Paisley, is celebrating his birthday this Good Friday in better health than anyone thought was every possible, according to his wife, Baroness Eileen Paisley.
Indeed, according to our sister paper, the News Letter, Dr. Paisley will soon be taking up his pen to resume his weekly column.
Dr. Paisley, who will celebrate his 86th birthday, is still not well enough to do interviews, but he’s in very good spirits and has attended church as a parishioner. He spent three weeks in hospital earlier this year and there were serious concerns for his health.
“It was really very serious, critical at first, but thankfully he’s got over that,” Baroness Paisley said.
The founder of the Free Presbyterian Church was rushed to hospital at the start of February with a serious heart problem.
The former MP, MEP and MLA was so gravely ill that one DUP councillor wrote on his Twitter account that the party’s founder had died.
Special prayer meetings were held in Free Presbyterian churches and prayers were said for the octogenarian politician – who had just retired as a church minister weeks before taking ill – in many other churches.
Baroness Paisley said that her husband was learning not to over-exert himself as he recovers at home.
“He’s doing very well. He’s very easily tired and he can’t strain himself at the moment.
“He’s tried maybe to do a wee bit too much at times and it has really hit him, so he has learnt that he just has to take time to get completely better.
“He’s had very good reports from the consultant and his weekly reports are very good so he’s really doing very, very well – much better than anyone thought he would ever do.
“It really is wonderful and I couldn’t speak too highly of the hospital. The staff there really did a wonderful job and are very pleased with him.”
Baroness Paisley said that the family had received messages of support from “many people right across Ireland – north and south, every quarter” and from as far away as Morocco, Australia and Brazil.
“You mention it – on every continent. We had lovely messages from various countries in Europe and the Middle East, from Singapore, Kenya – everywhere; places that you’d never ever think people would be interested, but it’s been really amazing to hear people saying how much they’ve prayed for us.
“Right across all the political sections of the community and the religious sections, we’ve had lovely letters, cards, emails and all sorts of messages from people from every denomination.
“It’s been very, very touching and very moving for us all to think how much people think of him and how glad they all are to see him so w