IT’S a big week for Lurgan girl Natalie Barr as he carries the Olympic Torch on Sunday and flies out to Uganda on Monday.
The 19-year-old has spent the last few months collecting hockey equipment for a special training programme in the war-ravaged African country.
Next week the trainee school teacher will be jetting off with her father Dr Dickie Barr to help find the location for a second school in memory of Natalie’s sister Charlene.
Natalie said: “We have just sent out 500kg (14 boxes) of hockey equipment that has come from all over Ireland – including 290 hockey sticks.”
Natalie will be coaching hockey to primary and secondary school aged children in Uganda.
A first year BEd Primary student, Natalie was nominated by friends to carry the Olympic due to her hockey and charity involvement. She has captained both Ulster and Ireland at under-18 level and has been heavily involved in the charity project following fund-raising efforts by her sister Charlene.
‘Charlene’s Project’ had the vision of building a school for children in Uganda after Charlene herself had to drop out of school whilst waiting for a double lung transplant.
Heartbreakingly, Charlene never saw the school, ‘Hidden Treasure’, built. The ground in Uganda was cleared for the building to start the day after Charlene’s funeral. She died in 2010, aged 20.
Charlene’s dream involved trying to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in Uganda by providing children with an education.
Natalie will carry the Olympic torch on June 3 in Ballygally.
“I really look forward to being involved in the London Olympics in such a special way. I know Charlene would have been very excited to see me carrying the torch,” she said.