Appeal in memory of missionary from Millisle

A Co Down missionary who spent most of her life working in India is to have a statue erected in her honour in her home village of Millisle, Co Down.

Amy Carmichael founded an orphanage mission which saved hundreds of young girls in Dohnavor in southern India from being forced into prostitution.

She was also a prolific author and published 30 books, including Things As They Are: Mission Work in Southern India, which was published in 1903.

Amy Carmichael was an unlikely candidate for missionary work, as she suffered from neuralgia which left her in bed for weeks on end.

After a fall in 1931 she was left almost bedridden until her death 20 years later, aged 83.

Before she left for India in 1896 she established a mission on Belfast's Shankill Road.

Today, those who have battled to have the missionary remembered through a statue will meet at its proposed location, close to the village's war memorial, where proposals for the public art work will be unveiled.

However, a bronze statue of course doesn't come for free and they are now calling on the public to help raise the required 80,000.

Derick Bingham, author, broadcaster and member of The Amy Carmichael Sculpture Fund, hopes people in Millilse and beyond will now 'dig deep'.

He says the statue would be a fitting tribute to Amy Carmichael, whom he describes as "one of the greatest missionaries and social reformers of the 20th century".

"She has become, through her writing and life, an inspiration to millions of people across the world. It is right and appropriate that her life and achievements be honoured in the land and village of her birth and upbringing," he continued.

"This sculpture could become one of the most visited sites in Northern Ireland where people from all walks of life could be inspired to realise what one life, under God, can accomplish for good in the world."

One story of her early life tells that as a child she wished that she had blue eyes instead of brown and prayed that God would change her eye colour.

As an adult, Amy realised that because Indians have brown eyes, she would have had a much more difficult time gaining their acceptance if her eyes had been blue. She accepted this as an act of God's providence at work.

l Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Amy Carmichael Sculpture Fund can do so through The Amy Carmichael Sculpture Fund, C/o Aiken and Crawford Accountants and registered Auditors, 10 GraFham Gardens, Lisburn, Co Antrim BT 28 1EX.