Belfast Telegraph

Golf star Rory McIlroy is blown away by £3m haven for ill kids he helped build

BY CLAIRE GRAHAM

A festive visit home for Christmas turned into an inspirational trip for Rory McIlroy as he met children battling cancer.

The golf hero paid a visit to the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children’s £3m Daisy Lodge in Newcastle to help put a smile on some faces.

The former world number one selected the organisation as one of six charities to benefit from his charity, The Rory Foundation.

As part of the its Six Bags project, the charity’s daisy branding was emblazoned on Rory’s golf bag for the duration of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

For the Holywood man, being back on home soil provided the perfect opportunity to hear firsthand the stories of the youngsters.

“I have had a close association with Daisy Lodge since I started my foundation at the start of last year. It’s something at home and something I felt very strongly about,” he said.

“Being able to see what they have built for children and their families, and spending time with them, has been fantastic.

“It’s great to see what a superb job people are doing here, in trying to help people get back to their feet after being diagnosed with cancer. The facilities are unbelievable — like a five-star hotel.

“It was really important to meet the young people, and to see how positive they are is incredible.”

Daisy Lodge will be the first facility of its kind in Europe and will offer short breaks to up to 500 families every year.

When the centre, built in the style of a mountain lodge, opens, it will give families a much-needed chance to recharge their batteries and relax away from the gruelling routine of hospital visits, stress and worry.

Families may visit the centre at any stage in their cancer journey.

Cancer Fund for Children chief executive Gillian Creevy said: “The official handover of Daisy Lodge to NICFC is scheduled for January 27 and it will be the ultimate late Christmas present. We aim to invite the first families to stay in Daisy Lodge from late March and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is involved with this wonderful project and for making it all possible.”

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