Ballynahinch Woman Continues Support For Christian Aid

Ballynahinch grandmother’s fundraising resumes as lockdown eases.

Ballynahinch grandmother’s fundraising resumes as lockdown eases.

A Ballynahinch grandmother will resume a door-to-door collection for her favourite charity next week in a sign that life in the town is beginning to return to normal after lockdown.

June McDowell, who suffers from arthritis, began taking part in the annual Christian Aid Week house-to-house collection 15 years ago, had never missed a year until 2020 when coronavirus restrictions forced its cancellation.

Christian Aid’s house-to-house collection is the only nationwide doorstep collection in the UK and Christian Aid Week, which began in 1957, is the country’s longest-running fundraising drive.

Kelvin McCracken and June McDowell prepare to resume their annual Christian Aid Week house-to-house collection in Ballynahinch as lockdown restrictions ease.

Each May, thousands of volunteers post red collection envelopes through the letterboxes of households around the country and among them is June – a retired head cook who is mother to three grown-up sons and a grandmother of two.

June has continued with her annual collection despite having arthritis in her hip which makes walking painful. Christian Aid Ireland Chief Executive Rosamond Bennett paid tribute to June saying: “Supporters like June have carried out their fundraising work unpaid and uninterrupted for many years. I am inspired by their stoicism as they overlook the ups and downs in their own lives to bring hope to people living in poverty around the world.”

Kind-hearted June McDowell hasn’t allowed painful arthritis in her hip to interrupt her 15-year unbroken stretch as a Christian Aid week house-to-house collector in Ballynahinch.

As well as giving her time to raise funds for Christian Aid, June enjoys helping people with learning disabilities. Until lockdown, she would volunteer at The Eden Group, a support group for adults with learning disabilities held fortnightly at Edengrove Presbyterian Church on Dromore Street in Ballynahinch. She and the other volunteers organise snacks and activities, such as singing and crafts, for the adults who attend.

Also returning to the doorsteps after lockdown will be Kelvin McCracken, a retired agricultural scientist and a member of First Ballynahinch Presbyterian Church on Windmill Street. Kelvin became the Ballynahinch Christian Aid organiser in 2011 and has been carrying out the house-to-house collection since then.

This year’s Christian Aid Week appeal focuses on the theme of climate change and the story of Rose Jonathan (68) who lives in the Kitui region of Kenya where drought and unpredictable rains mean that she must walk for many hours each day to collect water for her family and livestock.

To find out more and to donate to this year’s Christian Aid Week appeal, please visit: 

or you can make a telephone donation by calling 028 9064 8133.