A Derry woman who has spent 21 years sponsoring two children as part of the Worldvision Project, has been honoured for her work with the charity.
Mary-Ann Meenan, from Creggan, was invited to Stormont where she met members of the charity and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Her daughter, Patsy, said her mum was treated like the ‘Queen of Creggan’ and was enjoying telling everyone how Martin McGuinness had personally escorted her to her car on the way home.
“It was more than 20 years ago when mammy first saw the Worldvision ads on television and she said that she had to do something for the wains who had nothing,” said her daughter Patsy.
“So she went and sponsored two of those children from African countries. Each Christmas she would get a letter from her two sponsors with little pictures.
“The letters all contained little hand-made things. She loved getting the letters, we felt that we knew the two boys.
“Mammy called them her wee grandsons. They would thank her for being their sponsors. You weren’t supposed to talk about your country or anything so Mammy would write to them about love. And she would talk about animals. She would tell them she was thinking of them.
“One of them called her granny. He told us that he was out working to help his family. However, we recently heard that he got educated and graduated.
“Only recently we got a card from Mohammed, who mum sponsored. It was handmade and read: ‘Remembering my sponsor.’
“Mammy said she wanted to send us over to check on her two sponsors and make sure they were okay. She was even talking about flying over herself!”
Mary Ann was invited to Stormont to celebrate the retirement of one of the charity’s members.
“She loved it,” added Patsy. “She loved meeting Martin McGuinness and Raymond McCartney. She was treated like a VIP and bragged that Martin McGuinness walked her to her car.
“She thought she was the Queen of Creggan.
“They were so good to her and found out all about her needs before she travelled. It was just a great day for her.
“There were so nice to her.”