In a unique and fitting tribute to children who have or have had congenital heart disease and to raise awareness of the illness – the most common birth defect among children born in Northern Ireland – statues across the province, including Ballymoney were brought to life on Friday with specially designed woollen hearts worn on their sleeves.
The hearts appeared on the statues of literature and sporting legends Joey and Robert Dunlop in the Memorial Garden Ballymoney.
They also appeared on the statues of CS Lewis (East Belfast), medical pioneer and inventor of the modern defibrillator Professor Frank Pantridge (Lisburn) along with golfer Nick Faldo (Enniskillen).
Two of Northern Ireland’s most famous peace statues – The Reconciliation Statue at Stormont and Hands Across the Divide in Derry – also wore the hearts.
Also with Newry Navvy, the Monument to the Unknown Woman on Belfast’s Great Victoria Street, the Flax Spinner in Sion Mills and the Gleaner, also at Parliament Buildings.
The special event took place on Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s ‘Wear Your Heart on your Sleeve Day’ and the statues wore hearts on their sleeves, designed and hand crafted especially for the campaign by local yarnbomber, Nora Borealis.
“This unique gesture is a tribute to children and young adults right across Northern Ireland who have suffered from heart disease.
“Today sees hearts on the sleeves of many icons and statues, both from history and the present-day, across every county.
“Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve Day helps everyone recognise how this disease affects babies, infants, teenagers and adults
“The support we have had from the local councils, businesses and public bodies in this campaign highlights the importance they place in supporting the work of the Children’s Heartbeat trust, the children and families, and the service that is provided at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children,” said Sarah Quinlan from Children’s Heartbeat Trust.
She concluded: “The Children’s Heartbeat Trust would like to thank all of the bodies who supported the Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve campaign, including Ballymoney Council, Newry Council, Lisburn City Council, the Department for Social Development, the Department for Finance & Personnel, Lough Erne Resort and Glenbank Estates.”
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