Family praise as youths cross Portadown divide to help 87-year-old pensioner

The family of an 87-year-old Ballyoran woman, frightened after thugs tore down her fence, have praised the young people from Corcrain who helped fix it.

In a wonderful cross community gesture, several young people from Corcrain, Redmondville, Empowerment, Advocacy Training and Education (CREATE) went to the aid of the pensioner.

Fence belonging to an 87-year-old pensioner wrecked at the weekend

Fence belonging to an 87-year-old pensioner wrecked at the weekend

They had discovered the woman’s plight after reading about it on the PSNI Craigavon Facebook page.

Her family said they have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown by the young men and the help they have received from those in the community and online.

Colette O’Hara, a niece of the 87-year-old woman, said youths had been gathering at her aunt’s fence on Saturday evening when it collapsed.

“She was in a state so I phoned the local councillor Paul Duffy and he got back to me in minutes saying he had spoken to a local cross community group and some fellas would be over to help,” she said.

Young people from CREATE helped fix pensioner's fence in Ballyoran

Young people from CREATE helped fix pensioner's fence in Ballyoran

“Our family was just overwhelmed with their kindness - and especially coming to help out on a Sunday. We were all just blown away. They were so nice, so kind to give up their time to help. And they did a great job. We also got a lot of messages of support online from across the community,” she said, adding that her aunt had suffered terribly from anti-social behaviour in recent months, including severe damage to her car after youths jumped on the bonnet.

“It has been very frightening for her,” said Colette. “Our family have been very thankful and quite emotional by the level of support and kindness.”

Jordan Russell from CREATE said they had spotted what had happened to the pensioner online and decided to help.

He explained they had developed strong cross community ties with St Mary’s Youth Club and the two groups had worked closely over the past two years.

“It shouldn’t matter where you live to give your support. Between us we paid for the materials and got a lend of tools. We got in touch with Paul Duffy to offer support and we were delighted to help.”

Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Duffy lambasted the youths causing trouble adding they have failed to grasp the trouble they are causing.

Inspector Alwyn Peters said: “Police are aware of issues of anti-social behaviour occurring in the Garvaghy Rd recently including a report a fence being damaged and I would encourage anyone who has been affected by this behaviour to report the matter by calling 101.

“To those youths who think their behaviour is acceptable - stop and think.

“How would your grandparents or indeed parents feel if they were subjected to crowds of youths causing annoyance in and around where they live?”

“What might seem like harmless fun to you can be downright intimidating to someone else. Everyone should be able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity within their own homes, no-one should be allowed to take this away from anyone.

“Anyone involved in anti-social behaviour or any activity that is outside the law could find themselves with a criminal record which could ultimately affect travel, education and employment opportunities in the future.’

“So our message is very straightforward – be respectful of your neighbours, don’t become involved in antisocial or criminal activity.

“The support of local people, community and voluntary representatives, and particularly the parents of those youths frequenting the area, are essential ingredients to help combat anti-social behaviour.

“If anyone has information on who is involved or to report any issues please call 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”