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Mother's Day: Well-known NI faces share what they'll be doing to make their mums feel special

Tomorrow’s Mother’s Day celebrations are set to be very different for many families due to the coronavirus crisis. Claire O’Boyle speaks to four well-known faces to hear how they’ll be doing their best to make their mums feel special

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Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Grainne McCoy with mum Siobhan and grandmother Maria

Grainne McCoy with mum Siobhan and grandmother Maria

Grainne McCoy

Grainne McCoy

Grainne McCoywith son Ryan

Grainne McCoywith son Ryan

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg (1) with dad Chris and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg (1) with dad Chris and mum Denise

Claire Hanna and mum on wedding day

Claire Hanna and mum on wedding day

Claire Hanna as a child with mum Carmel

Claire Hanna as a child with mum Carmel

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Claire Hanna at her North Parade home in south Belfast in 2017

Claire Hanna at her North Parade home in south Belfast in 2017

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Linzi Lima with mum Beverley and daughter Clara.

Linzi Lima with mum Beverley and daughter Clara.

Pics attached of Linzi Lima with mum Beverley as well as sister Samantha and brother Elliott Corr

Pics attached of Linzi Lima with mum Beverley as well as sister Samantha and brother Elliott Corr

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)

Grainne McCoy says she has shared an incredible bond with her mum, Siobhan Carragher, all her life - but especially since she became a mother herself at just 15 years old.

"Me and my mum are stuck to each other's hips," says make-up artist Grainne (35). "I became a mother at 15 so that was a major thing in our lives.

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Grainne McCoy with mum Siobhan and grandmother Maria

Grainne McCoy with mum Siobhan and grandmother Maria

Grainne McCoy with mum Siobhan and grandmother Maria

"When my son Ryan, who unbelievably is 18 now, was born my mum was amazing. It could have gone either way and she could have been furious with me. She could have resented the whole thing, as it was a huge shock for everyone, but she did the opposite.

"Instead she wouldn't let me get up in the night with him. She did the bottle feeds and everything she could so that I could keep getting up in the morning and going to school.

"She'd take him to creche and she looked after the two of us. I didn't tell her I was pregnant until I was more than six months, but when I told her she was amazing. I'll never forget it.

"And she's still lifting and laying us all these years later."

But, says Grainne, the second of five children and the first girl, the pair were close right from the get-go.

"I remember even as a young child having that wee bond," says the Apprentice star. "Every Saturday she took me along with her and we'd get our hair done up in Dundalk. That was from when I was about six or seven, and we always had that lovely time together - and she's always taken care of her appearance. She's gorgeous."

Now as adults, as well as being incredibly close friends, the pair work together in Grainne's cosmetics company.

"I call her the 'Momager' like in the Kardashians," laughs Grainne, who lives in Newry. "She is the absolute backbone of my business and I couldn't do it without her. She looks after the accounts, the marketing, all the stuff a business needs really. I couldn't do what I'm doing without her at all.

"And the best bit is that it's hard to trust someone when you're starting out in business, but of course I can trust my mum with anything. You can fall out with each other and love each other again two seconds later."

And with Mother's Day coming up tomorrow, Grainne knows it'll be a slightly different occasion than it usually is.

"Most years we'd all be around at my mum and stepdad's house just hanging out for the day," she says. "That's actually what we do most Sundays in fact. But we're all being a bit more careful of course because of everything that's going on. We haven't seen as much of each other as usual, but I think the best thing to do is to go for a walk so we can spend a bit of time together.

"We go for walks together up the mountain at Slieve Gullion a lot and I think that's the best thing for us to do at the minute, and it'll be a nice thing to do for Mother's Day.

"Out in the open air, we'll get to hang out and be a bit careful as well. I get my mum lilies every week anyway, which she loves. And I gave her a present there a week or so ago - so that'll do her."

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Grainne McCoywith son Ryan

Grainne McCoywith son Ryan

Grainne McCoywith son Ryan

In fact, what Grainne did, was give mum Siobhan a gift to mark her own 35th birthday.

"Well yes, it was my birthday," laughs Grainne. "But I told her not to get me anything and instead I bought her an iPhone 11 Pro. You should have seen her face, it was a picture. But the reason it was my birthday was because she had me, so I wanted to get her something that day to say thanks for everything she's done for me.

"Honestly, she's an amazing person to have in my life and whatever way we mark Mother's Day this year, it's just about saying thanks and showing some appreciation for one of the absolutely most important people I've got."

Siobhan agrees. "This is a time for back to basics, and it reminds you how important it is to appreciate the people in your life.

"Normally I do a lot of cooking and the family all gather up and get together at our house, but the way things are at the minute it's probably best not to do that so much.

"Grainne is a very thoughtful and generous girl, and she very much wears her heart on her sleeve. A walk is a good way to see each other and it's something we do a good bit anyway so that will be nice. It's just important to remember how much your family matters, even if you can't be together as much as you normally would."

‘The more we protect the people we love, the better we’ll cope’

Mum-of-three Claire Hanna, the SDLP’s MP for South Belfast, is incredibly close to her mum Carmel — but says she won’t be giving her a hug this Mother’s Day. Because Carmel (73), herself an SDLP veteran and former MLA, is self-isolating because of the coronavirus.

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Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Claire Hanna with her mum Carmel Hanna

“My mum and dad are taking all this quite seriously, as I think we all should be,” says Claire (39). “My mum has had health issues and both she and my dad are in the age range that really needs to take care of themselves.

“We’re all in a bit of shock about it, I suppose everyone is, but the more we can do to protect the people we love the better we’ll cope with it.”

Following her mum into politics, Claire says she couldn’t ask for better from her parents.

“My mum is brilliant,” says Claire. “I really couldn’t ask for better and she’s always got very sound advice for me, whether it’s a professional matter or something about parenting.

“If I ask what she thinks, she’ll always give the advice she thinks is right, even if it’s not necessarily what I want to hear. She’s really the one person to do that, and even if I don’t like what she says, it’s always incredibly valuable.”

With her mum entering politics when Claire was in her teens, she says she grew up with a very strong example of a working mother.

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Claire Hanna as a child with mum Carmel

Claire Hanna as a child with mum Carmel

Claire Hanna as a child with mum Carmel

“Mum was a nurse and a social worker, and I was in my mid to late-teens before she ran for election,” recalls Claire.

“So she was always a working mum and I think she was a really good example of that, because while she worked I remember her always being very present in my life as well.”

And like lots of mums and daughters, Claire says her relationship with her mum only continues to improve as she gets older.

“We have really good craic,” she says. “I think we’ve definitely grown closer as I’ve got older and I really enjoy her company. There’s honestly nobody I like hanging out with more than my parents and family.

“Mum’s a brilliant granny and, while she and my dad were determined not to take on the burden of having the kids on a certain day or particular slot, they happily fill in where they can, which is a massive help to us.

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Claire Hanna at her North Parade home in south Belfast in 2017

Claire Hanna at her North Parade home in south Belfast in 2017

Claire Hanna at her North Parade home in south Belfast in 2017

“It’s especially crucial in the job I have where there can be a lot of ad hoc childcare needs. The kids love spending time with her.”

The youngest of four siblings, with one sister in Los Angeles, Claire says the whole family are incredibly close.

“We speak every day,” she says. “And for Mother’s Day we usually all get together, but to be honest we spend a lot of Sundays together for lunch anyway, either at my house, mum and dad’s, or my sister’s or brother’s because we all live in the same neighbourhood.

“This year will be different. My parents are keeping themselves tucked away, which is definitely the right thing to do.

“We’ve dropped groceries around to them — although on day one my husband came home to tell me he’d gone in to help my dad move some furniture, which wasn’t quite the idea.

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Claire Hanna and mum on wedding day

Claire Hanna and mum on wedding day

Claire Hanna and mum on wedding day

“But we’re still just figuring it out, and I guess everyone’s doing the same thing. We’ll hang out with mum on Skype for Mother’s Day, and I’ve got three kids so I imagine that means she’ll get about 16 cards through the letter box, and maybe something nice popped on the doorstep.

“She’s a fantastic mum and granny, so as long as she knows we’re all thinking of her, which she does, then we’ll all be fine.”

‘She’s been a massive presence throughout every stage of my life’

BBC NI news and weather presenter Linzi Lima says her mum Beverley Corr is her hero.

"Not to be soppy, but my mum is my absolute hero," says Linzi (35). "Along with my husband Mark and my sister Samantha, mum is my absolute best friend and I talk to her at least two times a day - I probably absolutely torture her."

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Linzi Lima with mum Beverley and daughter Clara.

Linzi Lima with mum Beverley and daughter Clara.

Linzi Lima with mum Beverley and daughter Clara.

And living just around the corner from her mother's home in east Belfast, Linzi, mum to four-year-old Clara, says Beverley has always been a huge presence in her life.

"I'm the oldest of four kids and while mum worked briefly for an insurance firm when I was very small, she stopped when I was about four to look after us full-time," says Linzi.

"My dad worked and she would be there when we got home from school. We weren't a very flashy family, and we didn't have big holidays abroad or anything like that, but mum was always brilliant.

"She has been a massive presence right through every stage of my life. And now I have my own little girl I realise what an angel she is, what a patient and loving person she has been and continues to be."

Journalist Linzi, who is married to broadcaster Mark Lima, says her mum has been an "absolute life-saver" for the couple many times.

"She has pulled us out of a lot of holes over the years," she says. "And she's a fantastic grandmother.

"We're actually really similar people, too, both me and my mum as well as my sister, which is probably why we get along so well. Our interests are similar.

"We love shopping and interior design, and we all really love to travel. We've never been ones for big gestures on days like Mother's Day, but one thing we've done more and more as we've got older is that my sister and I take Mum away for trips.

"When we were little we didn't go away all that much, but over the last few years we've built up a bit of a tradition for it.

"The three of us have gone to London and Brussels, Rome and Venice. It's normally a girly tradition but when we took her to New York last year, one of my brothers came along. Usually when we go away I think my brothers are happy enough to get their heads showered from us for a few days."

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Pics attached of Linzi Lima with mum Beverley as well as sister Samantha and brother Elliott Corr

Pics attached of Linzi Lima with mum Beverley as well as sister Samantha and brother Elliott Corr

Pics attached of Linzi Lima with mum Beverley as well as sister Samantha and brother Elliott Corr

When it comes to Mother's Day celebrations, Linzi and her siblings usually treat their mum to a nice meal out - but will probably keep things a bit lower key this year.

"Normally we'd go for a nice meal or something like that," she says. "But in reality the most important thing is taking some time together as a family.

"Everyone has such busy lives, it's so lovely to just sit down for a couple of hours without rushing around, or running off to work.

"My mum isn't in any category at this point to cause any concern so we'll do something together on Sunday, but it will probably be more low key than usual.

"It's times like these when you realise how important it is to appreciate your friends and family because it's those people who will get us through these things. It couldn't be more important."

‘Mum would rather have your time than have any gifts’

Q Radio presenter Eoghan Quigg (27) will be popping in to see his mum Denise tomorrow to wish her a Happy Mother's Day.

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Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

"My mum is great, and I'll be taking a run up to see her on Sunday for sure," he says. "I think with everything that's going on we should absolutely be taking it seriously.

"I'm doing everything I can and being careful to do all the precautions they've said. I'm washing my hands flat out and I'm constantly cleaning and bleaching the house.

"But my mum is great, she's not even 50 and she's in great health so unless things take a serious turn for the worse and we head for something like Spain or Italy, it won't stop me seeing her or my dad."

Former X Factor star Eoghan, originally from Dungiven, Co Londonderry, moved out of home a few years ago but speaks to his parents regularly and gets a message from his mum every night.

"She'll text me every night to say 'Good night son, I hope you're well', and even if I go to bed early it'll be there in the morning when I wake up," he says.

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Eoghan Quigg (1) with dad Chris and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg (1) with dad Chris and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg (1) with dad Chris and mum Denise

And, adds Eoghan, his mum has supported him in everything he's done.

"Growing up she was a great typical wee Irish mammy," he says.

"She was a house mammy for years when I was small and even though I played football a lot and did things with my dad, I was really a bit of a mammy's boy. She supported me completely with my singing, as did my dad, and I wouldn't have got where I am without them.

"The two of them paid for my flights to go on X Factor and everything, and they didn't even know if I'd get through the audition or how far I'd get, so it was amazing of them and they did everything they could to give me every opportunity."

So did singer Eoghan get his voice from his mum?

"Sadly, no," he laughs. "She wouldn't be a singer now. In fact, both of them are brutal, my mum and my dad.

"They couldn't hold a tune. They're really bad singers. I think my voice must have been through far back ancestors or something like that.

"But mum's really proud of all of us. There are four of us, and my youngest sister is still at school. She was just a baby when I was on X Factor. They're really supportive of us no matter what we do."

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Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

Eoghan Quigg and mum Denise

So for Mother's Day, how does Eoghan usually treat his mum?

"Well she isn't really one for jewellery," he said. "What my mum really appreciates is a good old catch-up and getting to see us.

"My mum would rather have your time than any gifts or anything like that, she likes to spend some time and have a laugh.

"That's what it's all about really, and at times like this you realise what matters most, and that's your family and the people you love."

Belfast Telegraph