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MU member Sheila completes 80th birthday abseil

Sheila Smyth abseiling down the Europa Hotel.
Sheila Smyth abseiling down the Europa Hotel.

We take off our hard hats to MU member Sheila Smyth who has celebrated her 80th birthday with a fundraising abseil down the Europa Hotel.

Sheila and her daughter Karen took the plunge on Sunday 25 February in support of Mothers’ Union Overseas and the NI Children’s Hospice.

She is one of the oldest people to complete the abseil down one of Belfast’s most famous landmarks.

“Once I got over the scary bit, getting over the edge, it was great fun and we’ve had great fun with it ever since,” says Sheila.

A Mothers’ Union member for 59 years, the organisation has been important to Sheila since joining the Magheradroll (Ballynahinch) branch as a young married woman. “At that time it was great,” she said, “you didn’t need a babysitter if you were part of the Mothers’ Union!”


Sheila Smyth and her daughter, Karen.
Sheila Smyth and her daughter, Karen.

Although the abseil was Sheila’s idea, she was reminded of her pledge by granddaughter Elaine, who has now recovered after being diagnosed with cancer following the birth of her second child. Sheila is grateful that all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are well and that’s why NI Children’s Hospice is the second charity to benefit.

Hearing of Sheila’s achievement, Down and Dromore MU Diocesan President, June Butler said: “Sheila is a remarkable lady in every sense. She has been a faithful member of Mothers’ Union in Down and Dromore for almost 60 years and has always been one of our most dedicated and innovative members. Her latest triumph, needing immense spirit and great courage, is no real surprise to all who know her. We are delighted and humbled that she has decided to donate half of the money she has raised to Mothers’ Union worldwide projects which will have such a positive impact on so many lives. Sheila is a real inspiration to us all.”

Family and friends have contributed £1,000 already but if you would like to add to the total, please visit Sheila’s Just Giving page here.