A Ballymena mother has shown her appreciation for the work of the Northern Ireland Fire Service by handing over a cheque in her late daughter’s memory.
Sandyleigh Gilmore tragically died in a blaze at her home in Ballee in March 1993.
Her mother, Siobhan Shiels never forgot the bravery of the firemen who responded to the emergency call on that fateful evening and who did everything they could to try and rescue the little girl.
And so, 20 years later, she decided to hold a charity quiz night in the town’s bowling club in order to raise funds for the Firefighters Benevolent Fund.
The Ballymena Times helped with pre-publicity in print, on web and on social media and a superb turn-out resulted on March 27, 2013 - 20 years to the day that her young daughter lost her life.
Siobhan said: “At the time of her death and the years after we didn’t get a chance to thank the Fire Service properly for saving the lives of myself, my sister Tanya and my other other daughters, Tamara now 23 and Debra now 20, so this was our way of giving back to the Fire Service that saved our lives.
“I must also say that the Fire Service weren’t the only ones that helped. My neighbours were fantastic and two of them were awarded medals for helping us that awful day,” said Siobhan.
Last week, Siobhan presented the £1300 proceeds of the quiz to members of ‘White Watch’ at Ballymena Fire Station. Among those who attended were firemen Sam McConkey, Ian Courtney and Chris McGaffin who were among those who attended the fire.