Larne woman forms Mae Murray Foundation to help tackle social exclusion

Mia Duddy and Leafi McMaster pictured with Bambi at the 'Team Santa Walk' in aid of the Mae Murray Foundation.  INLT 51-688-CON
Mia Duddy and Leafi McMaster pictured with Bambi at the 'Team Santa Walk' in aid of the Mae Murray Foundation. INLT 51-688-CON

A newly-formed charity group has kicked off its fundraising campaign with a festive ‘Team Santa Walk’ at Carnfunnock Country Park.

The Mae Murray Foundation has set out to improve the quality of life for anyone who feels socially excluded, and aims to create inclusive environments so everyone can participate together – regardless of age or ability.

Established by Larne woman Alix Crawford, the Foundation is named in memory of her late mother, Mae Murray, who sadly passed away in 2012.

Alix, who is chair of the Foundation, told the Times: “My daughter Talia has cerebral palsy, so she has experienced social isolation in her life.

“The Foundation is something which I have been keen to set up for a number of years, and its vision is that of an inclusive society.

“My mum embodied that vision, so we felt it would be appropriate to name the Foundation after her.”

Explaining the ambitious long-term plans of the Foundation, 45-year-old Alix said: “Our primary goal is the creation of a purpose-built ‘Centre of Excellence in Participation’ – an N-cluzion Zone.

“Due to the sizeable vision of N-cluzion Zone, we are planning it in phases.

“The first phase will be Equi-Zone, which is quite literally a mini project in itself.

“This will be home to six miniature horses and open to the general public, offering inclusive activities for all abilities, in addition to more specific therapeutic sessions.”

The Mae Murray Foundation is seeking a rural site of up to 20 acres – close to a main arterial route and preferably within the Co Antrim area – to forge ahead with the project, which is expected to cost an estimated £180,000.

Alix hopes the Equi-Zone, will be in a position to open its doors by the end of 2016.

Three miniature horses have already started their training and the first recruit, Bambi, took part in the ‘Team Santa Walk’ fundraising day at Carnfunnock.

“On behalf of the Foundation, I want to say a huge thank you to all our supporters and volunteers for making our Team Santa Walk fundraiser a great success,” Alix added.

The Foundation’s website is being launched in January and will feature more information about the charity and its goals.

In the mean time, anyone who would like to be kept up to date by newsletter is asked to email info@maemurrayfoundation.org or contact Alix on 07900 278 780.