Grant Weir Fundraiser

Going for a walk hi - Grant Weir fundraiser

On Wednesday 11th November 2020 @ 11.30am much loved Fermanagh man Grant Weir will commence an ambitious challenge; Grant will walk the equivalent of a marathon (26 miles) over an 8-10-week period.

The Weir family came forward with the proposal principally wanting to raise awareness of mental health services.

Grant was seriously injured in a bomb attack which was carried out in 1979 by the Provisional IRA outside the village of Rosslea. Grant, then a young soldier within The Ulster Defence Regiment was left severely mentally and physically injured, the blast also claimed the life of Missionary Sylvia Crowe and injured two others.

Grant steps off from outside the gates of Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Lisnaskea at 11.30am on Remembrance morning, accompanied by others who have lost limbs as a result of terror attacks.

The Weir family have opened a Go Fund Me page:

Proceeds raised will be divided between two local charities (South East Fermanagh Foundation and The Ely Centre, Enniskillen) who provide support to veterans but also other victims/survivors impacted by ‘the Northern Ireland Troubles.’

The charities can also accept donations to their respective offices which will then be forwarded to the family, donations should be within envelopes marked - Going for a walk hi (Grant Weir fundraiser)

SEFF’s Director of Services Kenny Donaldson commented: “Grant lights up a room or space wherever he is; he is renowned for his cheeky personality and it has been our pleasure as a group to know him and his family for several years”.

“We are however acutely aware that Grant can also be challenging to care for and we wish to pay tribute to his family; to Michele Nixon and her immediate family whom Grant lives with but also the wider Weir family circle who provide a wraparound family care for Grant which is second to none”.

“We are pleased to work in partnership with the family and The Ely Centre on this issue and to help promote awareness of mental health issues but also the role provided by carers”.

“Fittingly Grant steps off from the gates of Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Lisnaskea on Remembrance Day. On the SEFF Memorial located within the grounds of the graveyard is Sylvia Crowe, with whom Grant’s circumstances are so intimately connected”.

“The fact that other innocents who have lost limbs as a result of terrorism completed that first stage of the challenge with Grant was also important and we are aware that many different individuals and groups will be by his side through this challenge, walking with him (observing social distancing rules as necessary)

Meanwhile Lee McDowell, Director of Services at the Ely Centre remarked: “The demand on services as a result of the ongoing pandemic is rapidly increasing. No more acutely is this felt more than in our mental health services”.

“For many veterans and victims alike, prolonged periods of isolation coupled with genuine health concerns is leading to an increasing referral rate to our mental health services. Efforts to raise additional funding to support these services are crucial to enable us support as many people as we can during these uncertain times and we all thank Grant for this endeavour”.

“Whilst monetary donations are always welcome if you would like to put feet to your support by walking alongside Grant for a part of this fundraising effort, please contact us, SEFF or the family”.

Jim Dixon, Ely Centre Chairperson stated: "We at the Ely Centre commend Grant and his family for developing this fundraising idea and wish him every blessing as he embarks on this challenge. Furthermore, we are honoured that additional funding towards our mental health services will be supported as a result of Grant’s efforts and we thank him for this nomination”.

Statement from the Weir family:

On 17th July 1979 life forever changed for the Weir Family. Grant then aged 22 years was part of a UDR patrol when the provisional IRA detonated a bomb. Grant suffered a serious head injury resulting in both physical and mental disabilities.

Colleagues sustained minor-moderate injuries. Standing at nearby bus stop were three civilian woman; Sylvia Crowe and her mother and a Mrs Murray. Tragically Sylvia, a church missionary lost her life.

Grant battled for his life for many months afterwards and was not expected to pull through, but remarkably 41 years later he is still here and in relatively good health.

That said Grant requires 24-7 care and lives with his sister/main carer Michele Nixon, other members of the family also contribute in the care of Grant.

A big issue for the family is mental health and the need to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.

In this regard, Grant with the support of his family will embark upon an ambitious undertaking to walk the equivalent of a marathon over a two-month period.

Fittingly Grant commences this challenge on Remembrance Day and he takes his first steps suited and booted with his Northern Ireland medal proudly worn and painfully gained.

The aim is that Grant will complete the marathon distance by 31st January 2021.

All monies raised through this campaign will be for the promotion of positive mental health and wellbeing assisting two local charities to provide counselling and therapeutic-based services. The charities; Ely Centre and South East Fermanagh Foundation have been chosen as they provide ongoing support to Grant and the family.

Our objective as a family; beyond fundraising is to raise awareness of the needs of the injured, their carers and also the importance of practicing positive mental health and wellbeing.

We wish to send out that if Grant can succeed then so too can others; through courage and determination much is possible.