Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Poignant vigil is a beacon of hope

North Belfast is an area which has had more than its share of trauma, but tonight two local schoolgirls will symbolise the hope for better days ahead.

Rebekah Bradford, a Protestant who attends the Girls' Model School will share a platform with Nicole O'Rawe, a Roman Catholic pupil from the Little Flower School.

They will take part in a reflection and remembrance service organised by the Ashton Community Trust, during which they will read out a statement agreed by community workers, educators, former paramilitaries and political representatives.

This will outline the area's difficult and violent past, but will also underline the plans and aspirations for the future. The organisers will also hand out white roses and candles to those who attend the vigil.

This is a wholly commendable initiative which is part of the North Belfast Respect programme, and the Belfast Telegraph fully endorses this development.

There is something particularly poignant about this sharing between two schoolgirls who are reflecting the need for the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities in North Belfast to move away from the divisions of the past and to commit themselves to a better future for all.

Rebekah, an A-level student who hopes to became a nurse, has underlined how hard it is to live in a flashpoint community and yet she emphasises rightly that people in the area are trying to move on.

Nicole, who is also a student, has emphasised the importance of learning from the mistakes of the past and of aiming for a more peaceful future.

There is something particularly poignant about these young girls and about the North Belfast initiative which makes all of us hope that a new start can be made, despite the horrors of the past.


From Belfast Telegraph