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U2's Edge rocks up at Belfast centre for disabled children

By Allan Preston

Published 20/11/2015

Mencap ambassador The Edge visited the body’s new centre at the site of the former Newtownbreda Primary School
Mencap ambassador The Edge visited the body’s new centre at the site of the former Newtownbreda Primary School
The Edge with Mencap young ambassadors Barbara Norris and Barsha Sharma
The Edge with Colette Stewart, whose son attended Mencap’s Segal House Nursery in Belfast

Guitarist The Edge took a break from U2's world tour yesterday to visit the site of a new facility for children with learning disabilities just outside Belfast.

Before the band hit the SSE Arena last night for the second of two gigs in the city, the musician - real name David Evans - made the trip to the construction site for a Mencap centre opening in Newtownbreda in January.

"I've been looking forward to seeing it," he said. "We all need a stimulating environment, and this will provide great support."

The Edge, a longtime supporter of the charity, has had a personal connection to Mencap since his cousin Ciara Lawrence, who has a learning disability, asked him to become an ambassador in 2009.

"Mencap has done so much for my cousin in helping her reach her full potential," he said. "Everyone should have access to this kind of support."

Waiting to greet the rock star was Collette Stewart and her young son Harry. She admitted to feeling nervous because she had a picture of the musician on her wall 20 years ago.

"He seems like a very genuine, kind man and seemed really interested in seeing and talking to us all," Collette said. "I think he was a little overwhelmed. It must be quite different for him to see us lot when he's used to bright lights."

She added that there were lots of "high-fives" with the children and said: "Some people aren't sure how to approach kids with learning disabilities, but he knew what to do."

During his 45-minute visit The Edge posed for photos with Mencap ambassadors and the families of children with disabilities.

After explaining that Mencap would be the official charity for the Belfast Marathon for the next three years, Collette - who also works as a Mencap ambassador - said she "teased him to see if he would consider the marathon and he said he could get the rest of the band to do the relay".

Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
(Left to right) Larry Mullen Jr, The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 performing at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
(Left to right) Larry Mullen Jr, The Edge, Bono and Adam Clayton of U2 performing at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Bono performing with U2 at the first of the band's sold-out homecoming gigs at the SSE Arena in Belfast. PA
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
Picture - Kevin Scott Belfast , UK - NOVEMBER 18, U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 18/11/2015 U2 in concert this evening at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Security was ramped up this evening in Belfast in the wake of last weeks terrorist attacks in Paris. Photo Tremaine Gregg/Pacemaker Press
U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. (Photo by Kevin Scott)
U2 perform at Belfast's SSE Arena for the first time in almost a decade. Its also their first concert since cancelling their Paris gig following the tragic events that have unfolded , Northern Ireland on November 18 (Photo by Kevin Scott )
U2 bring their Popmart tour to Belfast in August 1997.
U2 play Botanic Gardens. August 1997.
U2 play Botanic Gardens. August 1997. Bono and Adam Clayton.
U2 at Croke Park - Dublin Friday July 24, 2009. Photo Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park. Larry Mullen on drums - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of three for their the U2, "360" world tour. Friday 24th July 2009. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 at Croke Park - Friday July 24, 2008. Photo credit Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
Thousands of fans travelled to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured L-R The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Friday 24rd July 2009 Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2's singer Bono on stage during the second Irish date of their Vertigo Tour at Croke Park Stadium, Dublin Saturday June 25, 2005.
Bono (right) leans on guitarist The Edge as U2 perform their second song 'I Will Follow' at Croke Park stadium
Fans stand in light drizzle before U2 perform at Croke Park stadium
Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, sings early in the first of five sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York, Friday, Oct. 7, 2005. The band is on the third leg of their Vertigo 2005 Tour, which kicked off six months ago on the West Coast of the U.S.
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pic Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
housands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured drummer Larry Mullen. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured The Edge. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park...Bono - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pictures by Liam McBurney
U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park...Larry Mullen - U2 U2 Play their final 360 concert at Croke Park supported by The Script, Dublin, Ireland - 27.07.09. VIPIRELAND.COM
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured lead singer Bono. Pic: Liam McBurney
U2 at Croke Park - Dublin...Adam Clayton (left) and The Edge from U2 playing at Croke Park in Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 24, 2008. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire ...A
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured L-R The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, Adam Clayton. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd. Pictures by Liam McBurney
Thousands of fans travelled down to see Irish super group U2 perform live at Croke Park, Dublin for the 1st night of 3 for their the U2, "360 (degree)" world tour. Pictured GV of the stage and crowd.
PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST 24/7/09. Bono on stage tonight at Croke Park as the Irish supergroup played their homecoming gig in front of 80,000 fans. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, sings early in the first of five sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden in New York, Friday, Oct. 7, 2005. The band is on the third leg of their Vertigo 2005 Tour, which kicked off six months ago on the West Coast of the U.S.
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in 1987
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in Jun2 1987.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/05/98 Unionist leader David Trimble, SDLP leader John Hume and Bono and U2 pictured together on stage at the Waterfront hall in Belfast this evening for a concert to promote a YES vote in the referendum on Friday
U2 CONCERT AT KINGS HALL, BELFAST in June 1987.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/05/98 Unionist leader David Trimble, SDLP leader John Hume and Bono and U2 pictured together on stage at the Waterfront hall in Belfast this evening for a concert to promote a YES vote in the referendum on Friday PHOTO PAUL FAITH

Margaret Kelly, director of Mencap NI, praised the musician and said: "We are incredibly grateful to him. The families were so happy to meet him."

To learn more about the new Mencap centre, visit mencapbigstepforward.org or call 028 9069 1351

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