Peace walk in memory of Lyra McKee: Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody expected to join walkers for final leg

The peace walk in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee set off from Belfast on Saturday morning. Pic: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The peace walk in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee set off from Belfast on Saturday morning. Pic: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
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Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee are due to arrive in Londonderry today at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast.

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody is expected to join the walkers on the last leg of their journey ahead of a rally at the Guildhall.

Walking in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee. Hundreds of people from all backgrounds set off from Writer's Square on Saturday morning. Pic: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Walking in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee. Hundreds of people from all backgrounds set off from Writer's Square on Saturday morning. Pic: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Hundreds of people set off from Writer’s Square on Saturday morning, many wearing T-shirts in her memory and carrying flags with messages of peace.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead by dissident republican group the New IRA as she was observing public disorder in the Creggan estate in Londonderry last month.

One of those taking part in the 70-mile ‘Lyra’s Walk’ is east Belfast PUP representative William Ennis.

Speaking to the News Letter yesterday en route to Dungiven he said his “knees are agony and legs are sore”, but he stressed the pain was worth it.

“It has been really nice. We have all manner of people taking part – east Belfast community workers, girls from Derry, people from all backgrounds and members of Lyra’s family. It has been lovely and the reaction of the public has been great,” he said.

“On the way into Randalstown people applauded us and the cafe put on a spread for us. Car drivers have been beeping their horns and waving to show their support, so it has been really nice.”

Linda Ervine, Irish Language Development Officer with East Belfast Mission, managed more than 15 miles of the walk on Saturday, despite suffering from back problems.

“It was great. It was fantastic to be part of it,” she said. “There was such a great mix of people of all ages and backgrounds taking part, it felt like something very positive to be part of. It was just great to be out among people who are open, talking about things and wanting something better I suppose.”

Mrs Ervine, who hopes to rejoin walkers for the final stage of the event today, said there had been “a really positive response” from churches, businesses and members of the public, particularly motorists, along the route.

At the time of writing, the Lyra’s Walk Go Fund Me page – set up to help cover costs associated with the event and secure donations for mental health awareness charity Mindskills – had raised more than £3,500.