Orangeman’s trek for inspirational late wife

Barry Williamson (third from left) pictured at the top of Slieve Donard with team mates practising ahead of their arduous climb of the four highest peaks in the UK later this month
Barry Williamson (third from left) pictured at the top of Slieve Donard with team mates practising ahead of their arduous climb of the four highest peaks in the UK later this month

A Co Armagh Orangeman will lead an extreme mountain challenge next week in memory of his late wife.

Barry Williamson from Tandragee, along with his two brothers, cousin, and six friends, are currently involved in a gruelling training regime as they prepare for the task of climbing the four highest peaks in the UK in just 48 hours.

They plan to conquer Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scafell Pike, and Slieve Donard over a 48 hour period, finishing on October 15, in aid of the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI.

Barry is undertaking the punishing trek to raise much-needed funds following the death of his wife, Alison, earlier this year.

The mother-of-two, 31, was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer last summer and despite treatment, including a stem cell transplant, she sadly passed away in May.

Alison was an inspirational young woman who showed tremendous courage throughout her illness.

Ahead of the massive trek, Barry said: “I am very grateful for the encouragement and financial donations that we have already received and I know that Alison will be very much with us in spirit every step of the way.”

Barry’s minister, Canon Shane Forster, of Ballymore Parish Church of Ireland, said: “Alison was a not just a devoted wife, loving mother and dear friend but a very special young woman who touched the lives of a lot of people.

“She was always positive and full of fun and never gave up in her battle with the illness that afflicted her but faced it with faith and determination.

“We are all very proud of Barry in Ballymore and extend to him our best wishes for the challenge that lies before him and assure him of our continual prayers both for him and the family.”

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland offered its best wishes to Barry and his fellow mountaineers.

A spokesman said: “Barry is to be commended for this very personal fundraising initiative.

“The scale of the challenge is great – however, the entire Institution will be willing Barry on to complete the task which he has set himself.

“Buoyed on and supported by his family and friends, the accomplishment of this UK-wide trek will be a fitting tribute to his late wife.

“Barry’s endeavours are yet another example of the charitable outreach of the Institution, and its members, throughout the year for numerous worthwhile causes.”

Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI funds research into the causes and possible cures of leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma in Northern Ireland and is the only charity in the Province solely dedicated to fighting blood cancers.

For more about the challenge, including sponsorship details, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/4in48.

Alternatively, e-mail alisonsmemory@gmail.com