Derry City: Footballer’s wife takes on charity challenge for autistic son

Paddy Harkin, left, committee member of COS (Circle of Support for Autism), pictured with staff of Northern Ireland Water, Gelvin Grange, from left, front row, Edele Doherty and Richard McClelland, back row, Adrian Hurst, Jennifer Doherty, Declan Mellon, Kellie Deery and Leslie Smyth, who will be taking part in the Mournes 7 Seven Challenge on the 1st of August to raise funds for the charity. INLS2515-196KM
Paddy Harkin, left, committee member of COS (Circle of Support for Autism), pictured with staff of Northern Ireland Water, Gelvin Grange, from left, front row, Edele Doherty and Richard McClelland, back row, Adrian Hurst, Jennifer Doherty, Declan Mellon, Kellie Deery and Leslie Smyth, who will be taking part in the Mournes 7 Seven Challenge on the 1st of August to raise funds for the charity. INLS2515-196KM

The wife of well-known local goalkeeper Gerard Doherty is taking on a mountainous charity challenge to raise money for a local autism group.

Edele Doherty, wife of Derry City keeper Gerard, is taking on the Mournes ‘7 sevens’ Challenge to raise money for local autism charity ‘Circle of Support’. Edele’s own son, Cian , is being assessed for autism and the local woman is taking on the challenge to raise money for circle of support in his honour.

The Mournes ‘7 sevens’ challenge is a mountain trek - challengers start in Newcastle and visit all seven peaks in the Mountains of Mourne that reach over 700 metres in height before ending up back in Newcastle.

Edele and a group of friends from her work, at the Gelvin Grange NI Water Depot in Lisnagelvin, are taking on the challenge in, funnily enough, seven weeks time in a bid to raise both money and awareness for the local autism group.

She said: “It is all about raising awareness for Circle of Support (COS). Not a lot of people even know they are there. They’ve been brilliant for us and it is just a group of volunteers - most of them are working parents and I can’t say enough just how good they have been for us.

“It is going to be me and a couple of ones from work doing the Mournes 7 seven challenge - seven mountains with summits over 700 metres.

“One of the boys in work wanted to set a challenge that was hard but achievable and he came up with this one.

“It is all for COS and it is a charity that is very close to my heart at the moment. My son is being assessed for autism. They are basically a group of local parents of children with autism and they are there to offer each other support and advice.

“That is the good thing about them - they are always there to offer help and support for us and for our son. He’s going for the special needs and without their help and advice it would have been a nightmare.

“It has made our lives a lot easier. I’m sure everybody that has been in contact with them would say the same thing.

“One of the good things about them is that they are so informal and they make you feel so welcome. It is nice just knowing that they are always on the end of the phone - there are people there who have been through it all and they are really experts in their own right.

“They are all volunteers and they are dependent on events like this one and fundraising.

“The ones doing it are Declan Mellon - it was his idea, Adrian Hirst, Richard McClelland, Leslie Smyth, myself, Claire-Marie McFeely, Kellie Deery and Jennifer Doherty.

“We are going to do it on August 1.”

Edele and Circle of Support are currently settng up a Justgiving page for those who wish to donate. Meanwhile, donations can be made via PayPal to circleofsupport@hotmail.co.uk.