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Northern Ireland public step up to help the lonely at Christmas after BBC Nolan Show appeal

Published 18/12/2015

Presenter Stephen Nolan
Presenter Stephen Nolan

A Christmas plea from a big-hearted Belfast woman has been met with festive generosity from the Northern Ireland public.

Mona McConnell, described by former Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir as a "one-woman dynamo healing the needy" went on the BBC Nolan Show to appeal for the public's help.

Stephen Nolan explained: "Mona is well-known for pulling out all the stops to make sure those in need have a good Christmas.

"Last year alone Mona's team provided 700 food hampers and also held Christmas lunch for those who had nowhere to go.

"She has been helping people for 40 years.

"But the bus scheduled to pick people up for this year's Christmas lunch has fallen through and Mona's now desperate to find an alternative.

"There's only a week to do it."

Mona said she had been reduced to tears, explaining: "If I can't get transport, they can't have their Christmas lunch and companionship at Christmas.

"It is so horrendous in my mind."

But up stepped the public - as the calls came in from taxi drivers, Belfast Harbour and the Ambulance Service to offer transport and volunteers.

So far, she has two eight-seater buses and a couple of cars.

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