June Butler, All Ireland President of Mothers’ Union (MU), is stepping out to ensure essential fundraising takes place despite the pandemic.
Every third year, MU branches across Ireland organise tea parties, sales and personal challenges to raise funds for local project initiatives, while funds are also donated to Mary Sumner House for projects in place overseas.
As fundraising at branch level has been suspended because of Covid-19, June has set herself the ’21 in 21’ challenge – to walk 21 kilometres, made up of three legs of 7km, in each of the 12 Church of Ireland dioceses in Ireland – 36 walks in total! June is asking for sponsorship from MU members and members of the public.
To date she has completed four walks, the most recent taking place in Belfast this week. She has also completed two in Down and Dromore and one in Armagh.
The sun was shining as June was blessed on her way on April 13 by the Rev Canon Kevin Graham, rector of St Bartholomew’s Parish Church, Stranmillis.
To ensure compliance with Covid-19 restrictions, only one person has been walking with June at any stage. The President was accompanied to Ormeau Bridge by Alberta Miskimmin, Co-ordinator of Finance and Administration Unit.
The Very Rev Stephen Forde, Dean of Belfast, joined June at Ormeau Bridge and they continued walking to Albert Bridge where Alberta rejoined June. Then it was onward to Belfast Cathedral, walking through some of the oldest streets in Belfast and visiting the new modern St Anne’s Square.
At Belfast Cathedral, Dean Forde led a short act of worship, with June reading from St John’s Gospel. Alberta used the Wave of Prayer to pray for the dioceses nominated for April 13, and also prayed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in this time of sorrow following the death of Prince Philip.
Former Connor Diocesan President Valerie Ash, Diocesan Secretary Irene Gates and winner of the recent All Ireland poetry competition and Cathedral branch member, Valerie Reilly, joined in the worship.
June’s next walk in Connor Diocese will take place on Monday April 26 starting at Ballywillan Parish, Portrush, and following the coastal path to Agherton Parish, Portstewart.
A walk due to take place three weeks ago from Muckamore Parish to All Saints’, Antrim, had to be postponed as Covid restrictions at the time were too stringent to allow it to happen.
That walk may now be the final one as June has a timetable in place to complete the walks before the winter sets in.
All monies raised by ’21 in 21’ walks will go to the ‘Mums in May’ fund to provide support for MU projects in Ireland and overseas.