Local woman hailed a community hero

Nan McCready at work in her garden. INBT37-212AC
Nan McCready at work in her garden. INBT37-212AC

A Broughshane woman hailed as a community hero for tackling weeds and litter in an Antrim estate says she can’t believe the public reaction to her “having a tidy up”.

There was a huge outpouring on social media last week after Nan McCready waged battle with overgrown hedges, weeds and litter on the ‘black path’ pathway from Parkhall down to the railway station - particularly as she’d travelled up from Broughshane to tackle it.

But the keen gardener says she just wanted to tidy it up for children going back to school, and because nobody was taking responsibility for it, she would do it herself.

Her daughter-in-law Caroline told the Times her family is so proud that she has shown folk in Antrim what community spirit really is.

Caroline, who lives in Antrim, explained that Nan had been visiting the weekend before and had noticed the pathway had fallen into disrepair.

She added that Nan was worried about the amount of broken glass and rubbish lying about with children and dogs using the path, so she just got stuck in.

“No-one was taking responsibility for it and she just decided to tidy it up herself,” Caroline said.

She added: “I didn’t even realise she’d been up doing it until I saw the posts on Facebook and realised that the people who were praising her were talking about my mother-in-law.

“That’s just the type of person she is and she can’t get over the fuss people have made; she’s so selfless and hardworking.”

Nan loves gardening and carries her tools with her “just in case she sees something that needs tidying up”.

“We were meeting her for lunch one day and she was weeding the car park when we arrived,” Caroline said.

She added: “She never stops and we are so proud she has shown folk in Antrim what community spirit is - even if she doesn’t live here.”

While her actions prompted debate on Facebook over whether it was council, Translink or other agencies responsible for clearing the pathway from rubbish and weeds, all were in huge praise for Nan.

One woman commented: “Would just like to acknowledge the lady who has been cutting down the overgrown hedges, cutting the weeds and picking up rubbish out of the kindness of her heart this week at the black path beside the old Army camp. She deserves credit. It’s a route I take my children to school so I for one thank this lady.”

One person commented: “What a lovely thing to do just goes to show there are still nice people out there.”

Another added: “This is so so lovely to hear. What an amazing lady Nan is. Community spirit has been lost throughout the years and lovely to see that Nan has brought it to light.”