Clerics scale new heights for charity

READY!. . .Fr. Eamon Graham pictured on the roof of Austins on SAturday morning before his descent in the Charity Abseil. 0708JM20
READY!. . .Fr. Eamon Graham pictured on the roof of Austins on SAturday morning before his descent in the Charity Abseil. 0708JM20

Two Derry clerics have raised at least £2,000 for Parkinson’s NI after abseiling from a landmark city centre building.

Parish Priest of Banagher, Fr. Eamon Graham and First Derry Presbyterian Minister, Rev. David Latimer scaled new heights to raise money for the Foyle Branch of Parkinson’s NI.

I'M READY LORD!. . .Rev. David Latimer gives the 'thumbs up' before Saturday's abseil. 0708JM24

I'M READY LORD!. . .Rev. David Latimer gives the 'thumbs up' before Saturday's abseil. 0708JM24

The pair were persuaded to abseil from Austin’s Department Store in The Diamond on Saturday by Liam Crawford, from Foreglen, who has Parkinsons.

“Liam is inspirational and he’s the type of man who doesn’t take ‘no’ for a answer, which is a good thing,” said Fr. Eamon Graham.

“It went really well, although it was a lot trickier than I thought.”

Fr. Graham, who served in Derry for many years, said he was a bit apprehensive about the challenge.

“The way I look at it is I am lucky to be as healthy as I am. I come across a lot of people who are ill and it’s good to be able to do something practical to help,” he said.

Fr. Graham admitted saying a quiet prayer to help negotiate the building.

“It was a privilege to be able to do this, although the big fear was that I didn’t make an eejit of myself,” he said. “I really enjoyed it and the weather was perfect and people are so good in the Derry area supporting charity and it was good fun.”

Rev. Latimer said it was a great way to draw attention to the charity and agreed Liam was an inspiration.

“It was well worth it and we had great support from the crowd,” he said.

“It was very rewarding and very heartening to see all the people there cheering us on. It gives you a sense of how the Olympic athletes must be buoyed by the support they receive.”

So was he nervous?

Rev. Latimer: “There was one point coming down the wall where I thought to myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’, but it was well worth it for the people living with Parkinsons and their families and of course we got perfect weather!”

Organiser Liam Crawford said having Parkinson’s is something he has learned to cope with.

“To be called an inspiration is a nice compliment, but Parkinsons is not going to go away, so you have to keep moving on,” he said.

Lyndsey Harrington, Derek and Alan Harrington also completed the abseil.

Mr. Crawford thanked everyone who helped the event and make things went smoothly.

“I was delighted with the event,” said Mr. Crawford.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather! People have been very generous and supportive and I’d like to thank everyone who helped in any way.”