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Founder of NI charity for the disabled passes away

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Honour: Evelyn Green with sons Robert and Philip on the steps of Buckingham Palace in 2008 after receiving her OBE from the Queen

Honour: Evelyn Green with sons Robert and Philip on the steps of Buckingham Palace in 2008 after receiving her OBE from the Queen

Honour: Evelyn Green with sons Robert and Philip on the steps of Buckingham Palace in 2008 after receiving her OBE from the Queen

The founder of a Northern Ireland disability charity who was the recipient of two honours from the Queen has passed away.

Evelyn Greer MBE, OBE, who launched Mencap NI after being appointed the first chief executive of the Royal Society of Mentally Handicapped People, died on July 9.

A death notice said that she had passed away peacefully at Nazareth House Care Village, Belfast.

A private family funeral service for Mrs Greer will take place in Belfast South Methodist Church, Lisburn Road today.

She was described as the “dearly loved wife” of the late Carlisle and the “truly inspirational mother of Robert, Philip and Dot”.

Mrs Greer established Mencap NI with just two staff members and the charity went on to become one of Northern Ireland’s most foremost organisations in providing services — including parent courses, clubs, nursery units and residential homes — for people with a learning disability.

One of these homes has been named after the charity’s founder — Evelyn Greer House in Bangor, Co Down.

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Mrs Greer enjoyed a long and distinguished career working with various organisations and initiatives.

In 1972, she was awarded a Churchill Travelling Fellowship allowing her to study services in 15 European countries and introduce new ones to Northern Ireland.

Five years later Mrs Greer became a founding member of Special Olympics, Ireland, liaising closely with American philanthropist Eunice Shriver Kennedy, who in 1980 invited her to serve on the International Special Olympics Board.

Mrs Greer then went on to found the Northern Ireland Special Olympics, which is now known as Special Olympics Ulster.

In 1979 Mrs Greer was awarded a MBE and was then the recipient of an OBE in 2004 for her role as a board member on the 2003 Special Olympics Summer Games which was hosted in Dublin.

Throughout her lifetime, Mrs Greer also held other prominent positions at various organisations, including patron of Reconnect NI, a group which helps those with acquired brain injuries.

She was also chairperson of Sense NI, a charity that supports those who are deaf, blind or have sensory impairments, representing the region on the UK Sense Council in London.

Her other roles include vice-president of Speech Matters, a charity that offers services for stroke and speech impaired people, trustee of the Ulster Theatre Trust and trustee of Blossom Trust in Keady, Co Armagh.

Following today’s funeral service, interment will take place in St John’s Parish Churchyard, Moira. A funeral notice said Mrs Greer will be “lovingly remembered” by her sorrowing sons, daughter, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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