Mums in May 2021 - All-Ireland Mothers' Union

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Mums in May 2021

Mums in May 2021

“Mums in May” is an All-Ireland Fund which was established in 2012 in celebration of 125 years of MU in Ireland. The Fund supports new and on-going MU projects throughout Ireland as well as specific important overseas projects. Every third year the MIM Fund is replenished through the efforts of members in Ireland and 2021 will be the fourth occasion when MU fundraising will focus on the Fund.  

This year Mums in May challenges members to walk ‘21 in 21’ – this can be 21 yards, 21 laps, 21 furlongs, 21 kilometres, 21 miles or 21 something else……… knit, sew, bake …. let your imagination run wild…… Or you can think about walking 21 of your chosen lengths virtually and ask friends and family to support you.

A "JUST GIVING PAGE" has been set up for the “21 in 21” initiative, so friends and family can easily sponsor June’s walking extravaganza or any other member’s challenge.
Simply log on to:

You can donate to the All-Ireland Mums in May Fund (in either Sterling or Euros).  

Just click on the calendar to bring you to the website to donate.

Click on the Image above to download the "Mums in May"
Count Your Blessings Calendar
Click on the images to download the cover and the insert of the
Sponsorship Card for "Mums in May"

June Butler begins her Walk for "Mums in May"

Wednesday 24th March 2021

June Butler, the All Ireland President, began her “21 in 21” walks today on her own home turf. In line with government regulations, she was accompanied only by the Branch Leader from Saintfield Parish, Marion Edwards, and they were sent on their way from the grounds of Saintfield Parish Church with prayers and good wishes from the Diocesan Chaplain, Rev Gerald Macartney, his wife Roberta, Diocesan President, and the Vicar of Saintfield the Rev Chris Pollock - all socially distanced of course.

Marion and June walked 7.8 kms around the periphery of the village and through Rowallane Gardens (with a short stop for a picnic lunch), finishing back at the parish church - in pouring rain -   with around 15.000 steps on the “clock”.  June said it was a great way to start her “21 in 21” journey in familiar territory with one of her greatest - and oldest - MU friends!  
On her second MIM walk on Saturday 27 March, June followed the towpath of the former Newry Portadown Canal from Scarva to Poyntzpass on a chilly but dry morning. Some of the Diocesan Trustees were there to see her off and there were also two clergy , the Diocesan Chaplain, Rev’d Gerald Macartney, and Rev’d Rodney Magennis, Diocesan Curate  for the local parishes, who offered very meaningful prayers for the walk and for the success of the MIM appeal.  

Diocesan President, Roberta, accompanied June on the first leg, with Marion Edwards and Phyllis Burrell walking at an acceptable distance behind.  The route was flat and interesting, passing Acton Lake/Lough Shark which is a haven for wildlife. The group saw a bevy of swans descending from a hillside on to the lake- a magnificent sight!  There was also a heron intent on its prey.

At Poynyzpass June and Marion were joined by Rev’d Gerald for the return walk back - again of course socially distanced. Going in the opposite direction the path looked completely different - this time the canal and the lake were to the right.  On the return to Scarva, the step meter recorded exactly 7km with 13,500 steps. Roberta had travelled back by car and was waiting with a lovely picnic lunch which she had kindly prepared.   
On  her third walk on Friday 9 April June moved to the Diocese of Armagh  where she walked twice round the beautiful Clare Glen near Tandragree on  a glorious spring morning. Before driving individually to the Glen, Canon Brian Blacoe and his wife Elizabeth (currently the  MU  branch leader at Ballymore Parish in Tandragee) prayed with the  small  group of walkers at the church before they drove individually to the  Glen. Those walking – socially distanced of course - were June, the Diocesan President, Sophia Dillon, and Armagh Diocesan Trustees, Beth Wortley, Betty Williamson and Debbie Davidson.   

This was a delightful circular walk around Clare Glen beside River Cusher. To quote from publicity material:
“Many  of the trees in the wood are multi-stemmed and the wood may have been managed by coppicing in the past. Hazel is  abundant, with oak, ash and wych elm over a stunning ground layer of  wood anemone, wild garlic and bluebells, and several different species  of orchid (when in season).”
June said it was a soothing walk surrounded by beautiful trees, the sound of running water as well  as birdsong, and glorious ground cover of celandine and anemone,  with  many primroses and even a few bluebells beginning to flower.
Viewing the Slideshows
of June's walks "21 in21"

To enlarge the photographs in the slideshows hold your mouse under the picture - the thumbnails will then appear and click on the box to the right of the thumbnails to enlarge the photographs.
In  lovely sunshine June was blessed on her way by The Rev’d Canon Kevin Graham, Rector of St Bartholomew’s Parish, Stranmillis, as she set off to complete walk number four and the first of her walks in Connor Diocese.

June was accompanied along the embankment to Ormeau Bridge by Alberta  Miskimmin, Co-ordinator of Finance & Administration Unit. The Very Rev’d Stephen Ford, Dean of Belfast, joined June at Ormeau Bridge and they continued walking along the River Lagan to  Albert Bridge where Alberta met June again and they continued to Belfast Cathedral, walking across several of the iconic bridges and through some of the oldest streets in Belfast, as well as visiting the modern St Anne’s Square. At that point June had  completed almost 5km of the day’s walk.

At  Belfast Cathedral Dean Stephen led a short but poignant act of worship  with June reading from St John’s Gospel and Alberta using the Wave of  Prayer to pray for the Dioceses nominated for 13th April. She also prayed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth  in this time of sorrow following the death of Prince Philip. Former DP  Valerie Ash, DS Irene Gates and winner of the recent All Ireland poetry  competition and Cathedral branch member, Valerie Reilly, joined in the worship.

After  returning (by car) to St Bartholomew’s, June, accompanied by Irene,  completed the 7km Belfast City schedule by a circular walk of over 2km -  down Stranmillis Road, left along the Lagan path and embankment to the QUB PE Centre, through Botanic Gardens and  back along Stranmillis Road to the church . It was a perfect day for a  city walk – some sun, and no wind, rain or snow (as in recent days!)  
Walk number 5 was in Clogher Diocese and commenced at Castle Archdale Parish Church (St Patrick’s)  just after 11.00 am. Leading the walk was Diocesan Secretary,  Liane Armstrong and she and June were accompanied by Rev Charles Eames (Diocesan Chaplain) and some members and friends from Derryvullan North & Castle Archdale MU branches.  Valerie McMorris, a former Trustee Board member, took the photographs and Diocesan President, Irene Boyd, and Heather Ellis (wife of the Bishop Elect) joined the group for part of the route.

Before they began June was presented with the new "Mums in May" mascot which had been created by Margaret Reilly from Derryloran MU in Armagh Diocese. There was discussion about what the lovely little bear should be called and the ladies decided on the name “Archie” in honour of that day’s walk from Castle Archdale. Archie spent the rest of the walk looking out of June’s rucksack except for when it rained - when he went inside to keep dry!
The rector of St Patrick’s, Canon Paul Thompson, offered prayers for the walk and June was presented by Dr Margaret Knox,  on behalf of the parish, with two lovely books about the church and the area. At four points during the walk, Norman Noble, a local historian, gave short talks about the particular locations at which the walkers had arrived and their significance to the history of the area and the Archdale family. The first of these talks was at St Patrick’s Church.

The main group of ten walkers  (in pairs and socially distanced)  went from the Church via the forest path to the Duross Car Park and then to the Marina via the shore of Lough Erne. By this time it was raining quite steadily but, while the lough was shrouded in mist, it did not stop the walkers from appreciating the trees, primroses and drifts of bluebells.  As the rain lessened, the group then walked to the Walled Garden and courtyard at the main Castle Archdale site and finally along another woodland path beside the shore to Old Castle Archdale.  There they were joined by former All Ireland Provincial President, Margaret Crawford, and Irene and the ladies provided a lovely picnic lunch for everyone – a lovely end to a most interesting and varied walk, totalling just over 8 km in length.  
"Archie" makes his debut


June’s sixth walk was one of her favourites along the north coast of  Northern Ireland – the coastal cliff path from Portrush to Portstewart, on the edge of the Diocese of Connor. Monday 26th April was a pleasant day with the walk beginning in sunshine but the sky gradually clouded over; however there was little wind - unusual for this area but a perfect day for this walk.

She was accompanied by Nina McNeary, Church Support Officer with the National Churches Trust – June chairs the NCT’s Northern Ireland Places of Worship Forum  and Treasure Ireland Grants Committee for NI  and,  in this capacity, has known Nina for some time. They were joined on the walk by MU members Kay and Jean from Ballywillan and Kim and Alicean from Agherton. They all gathered at Holy Trinity Church (Ballywillan parish) in the middle of Portrush before beginning the walk. Canon Peter McDowell led the group in prayer.

From Holy Trinity Church they made their way across the several streets and down steps to the West Strand, there joining the Ulster Way (also known at this part as the Causeway Coast Way). The path took them briefly on to the main Portrush - Portstewart Road but they turned right towards the shore at the point where Co Antrim becomes Co Londonderry. This part of the walk is known as the Port Path, and  it is aptly named as it passes coves called the Devil's Port, Holywell Port and Stoney Port. The next 4km of the Causeway Coast Way follows this path as it skirts the edge of Ballyreagh Golf Course along the cliffside. The path also passes the site of Ballyreagh Castle which was destroyed in 1684 by the English Deputy, Sir John Perott.

The next part of the Coast Way passes the grave of an unknown sailor before the carpark at Ringaree Point. From here the views across to the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal become prominent. From Ringaree, it was another 2km before the walkers reached Ballyreagh golf clubhouse and then continued to follow the pedestrian route along the coastline and down to the main harbour area of Portstewart. They walked along the Promenade, turned right on to the Crescent and ascended the steps behind the Convent. They then concluded their walk of over 7.8k by following the coastal path for a short distance before ascending on to Strand Rd and turning left towards Agherton Parish Church (the church of St John The Baptist).

The rector, Rev Malcolm Ferry, conducted a lovely service with music recorded by the parish “lockdown” choir, spoke about the feet of those depicted in the windows in the church (referring of course to the feet of the MIM walkers!) and offered  prayers for MU, including that day’s Midday Prayers. The morning concluded with a lovely lunch provided by the ladies of Agherton MU branch.
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