The Edge, the guitarist for band U2, took a day out of touring to visit a new facility for children with learning disabilities, Mencap, just outside of Belfast.
“I’ve been looking forward to seeing it,” Edge said of the visit. “We all need a stimulating environment, and this will provide great support.”
The Edge is a longtime supporter of the charity. He has a personal connection to Mencap since his cousin Ciara Lawrence, who has a learning disability and works for Mencap in London, asked him to become an ambassador in 2009.
Collette Stewart and her young son Harry waited to meet The Edge. She admitted to feeling nervous because she had a picture of the musician on her wall 20 years ago.
“He seems like a very genuine, kind man and seemed really interested in seeing and talking to us all,” Collette said. “I think he was a little overwhelmed. It must be quite different for him to see us lot when he’s used to bright lights.”She added that there were lots of “high-fives” with the children.
“Some people aren’t sure how to approach kids with learning disabilities, but he knew what to do,” Collette said.
During his 45-minute visit The Edge posed for photos with Mencap ambassadors and the families of children with disabilities.
After explaining that Mencap would be the official charity for the Belfast Marathon for the next three years, Collette, who also works as a Mencap ambassador, and she “teased him to see if he would consider the marathon and he said he could get the rest of the band to do the relay”.
Margaret Kelly, director of Mencap Northern Ireland, praised the musician and said, “We are incredibly grateful to him. The families were so happy to meet him.”
U2 guitarist The Edge has paid a visit to a new centre in greater Belfast which supports young people with a learning disability.
He urged people to donate to Mencap, which has been named official charity partner of Belfast City Marathon for the next three years.
“Supporting the marathon is an easy way to give back Mencap, which is particularly important at the moment, with the cost of this amazing facility,” Edge said. “On a personal level, Mencap has done so much for my cousin Ciara in helping her reach her full potential. Everyone should have access to this kind of support.”