A GRIEVING Rathfriland mother has voiced her anguish after a stone in memory of her daughter was taken from a special location she had placed it.
Sandra Hollingsworth’s daughter Molly, passed away on Thursday, 2 August 2018 following a bravely fought health battle.
Molly, who was five, died peacefully at the NI Children’s Hospital in her mother’s arms.
The Rathfriland girl who was known by her nickname ‘Molly Moo’, was diagnosed with severe brain damage called severe dystonic cerebral palsy, which affected all four of her limbs and severe epilepsy after she was resuscitated several times at birth.
Despite her limitations of no mobility and being tube fed, Molly was a “little fighter” and regardless of her pain, continued to smile throughout it all.
Following her daughter’s untimely passing, Sandra has thrown all of her energies into keeping her little girl’s memory alive and this June is set to climb Ben Nevis mountain in Scotland for charity.
As a keen runner and mountain climber, Sandra placed two hand-painted pink stones of Minnie Mouse at the top of Slieve Donard and Slieve Binnian as a tribute to her daughter.
Last Sunday (28 April) when Sandra reached the top of Binnian she discovered after “some frantic searching” that Molly’s stone had been removed.
The “devastated” mother says she is appealing to whoever took the stone, which is decorated with Molly’s favourite Disney character, to return it.
She said: “Binnian is my favourite mountain and I would be there regularly and this is the only one I really done while Molly was alive and when I had respite care with the Children’s Hospice.
“Being on Binnian makes me feel close to her and the Minnie Mouse rock is buried beneath others that I have brought up to the top with me each time I go up.
“I have the one on top of Donard because I hate the Donard climb and I put it up there to help spur me up to the top of it.”
Sandra says she was unaware of the current ‘rock hiding craze’ that has been circulating on social media and is hopeful the stone may turn up if it has been innocently moved.
“I know the rocks for this trend are mostly painted by children. However, this Minnie Mouse stone at the top of Binnian is hand-painted and has ‘Molly Moo xx’ on the back of it.
“When Molly passed away I did climb other mountains, but Binnian is still my favourite and up there I always feel close to her.
“When I get to the top I talk to Molly too and always say thank you to her for helping push me up to the summit,” she said.
On discovering the rock was missing, Sandra says it topped off an incredibly difficult few days.
She is hopeful therefore with the power of social media and sharing the fact it has been removed, that it will be returned to its rightful place soon.
“I only brought it up in January time and my sister, who is climbing Ben Nevis with me in June, helped to bring it up as it is quite heavy.
“I hadn’t been up Binnian in the last few weeks and went up on Sunday to clear my head after a difficult few days.
“To discover it was missing was just awful. I was devastated when I got up and it wasn’t there. I couldn’t believe that someone would take it and I believe it was an adult who took it as a child would not be able to carry it down the mountain.”
The Rathfriland woman says if someone knows where the stone is to get in touch with her.
She continued: “The stone means so much to me. When a post went around Facebook that it had gone missing, I had a man get in touch to say that himself and his son had saw the one at the top of Donard but had known to put it back as they knew it was a memorial stone and not to take it.
“If someone knows where this stone is, please let me know. Or if an adult has taken it thinking it would be nice for their child or grandchild, please just put it back.
“If it was taken by mistake, it is no problem, I would just really like to see it being returned or if it turns up in one of the rock groups online, please just put it back to where it was.”