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Maud calls time on her missionary work in Africa

By Allan Preston

A missionary who famously survived being shot by bandits in the jungle of the Democratic Republic of Congo is coming home for good after 50 years.

Maud Kells has spent decades of her life providing maternity care to Congolese women, working to build a hospital and nursery in the rainforest village of Mulita. In 2015 - when she was shot at the age of 75 - she astounded many with her determination to continue her work.

Her bravery also saw her recognised at the time as the Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year.

Before making the journey home to Northern Ireland from Africa to enjoy her retirement, the pensioner was awarded the Medaille Du Merite Civique by the governor in Kunda.

Speaking to the Mid-Ulster Mail she said: "It was quite an eventful day. I had to preach in the church the Sunday before, and just at the end of that, I brought it to a quick close because I could feel myself welling up.

"That was the most emotional part. After that I was just so busy I never really had time to think a lot about it. Now I'm actually leaving, I'll not see these people again."

The DUP leader Arlene Foster added her congratulations.

"Maud Kells has been a faithful servant to the people of the DR Congo. She has dedicated decades of her life to give care and attention to the Congolese people by building a hospital and a nursery in Mulita," she said.

"I have met Maud Kells on many occasions and she is a truly inspirational woman, who when faced with death didn't let that hinder her missionary work.

"She will no doubt miss the Congolese people. However, this recognition of her work is richly deserved. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Maud and wish her well for the future."

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