Alison's heart of gold

Alison's heart of gold

Alison McKinley presents David Martin with a Leeds United art work at Brownlow House.

Jonathan McNabb


Jonathan McNabb


A kind-hearted Lurgan woman is selling pieces of diamond art and donating the proceeds to a worthy cause.

Alison McKinley, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD from an early age, learned her new skill during lockdown and has already produced several pieces to date.

The 25-year-old plans to create and sell more art work in the weeks and months ahead before selling them and donating the funds to Poppy Ogle.

Poppy, who hails from Cregagh Estate in Belfast, was diagnosed with a malignant tumour in her head in January 2021 at the age of nine and had to have surgery in her skull to remove the tumour and a metal plate was inserted.

Heartbreakingly, there has since been a significant spread to Poppy’s chest and lungs but a recent cycle of chemotherapy is said to have made a progress in her recovery.

Speaking to Your Lurgan, Alison’s mum Rosalind, admits the family have been taken aback by messages of support and encouragement from members of the public for her daughter’s work.

"Alison’s interest in diamond art started over lockdown and she started to sell a few pieces and donated all the money to Poppy Ogle’s appeal,” she said.

“After creating the first piece, Alison started to really enjoy it and she sold a Leeds United one to David Martin at Brownlow House and he has it in his office.

“She has recently designed Manchester United and Liverpool art pieces, so we will likely auction or take bids for them and donate the proceeds. We would love to get them potentially signed by a former player but we will play that by ear.

“Alison has had fantastic feedback and more and more people have been asking for a design to be made, so she will certainly be busy.

“Carla Lockhart MP also recently sent Alison a letter of encouragement which was lovely and she just wants to support Poppy.”

Proud Rosalind was full of praise for two local businesses who have helped the former Dollard Special School pupil along the way, as well as explaining how Cooks Syndrome hasn’t deterred Alison’s efforts to complete tasks.

“Alison suffers from severe autism which means she has a learning disability, as well as having ADHD which makes it even more amazing that she can focus for a long period of time,” she added.

“Not only that, but Alison suffers from Cooks Syndrome which means she has no fingernails and she only has two joints in her fingers when you’re meant to have three, but this doesn’t hinder her at all.

“In fact, she is getting quicker with every piece and she constantly amazes us with how well she is doing.

“Occupational Therapy has helped, but as a family we are indebted to Lurgan Framing for their work and encouragement, as well as Printed in Lurgan who provided Alison with work experience, meaning she was able to gain new skills.

“We have raised around £150.00 so far but we hope to make more for such a fantastic cause.

“All money goes straight to Team Poppy and whilst this is a hobby for Alison, she wants to continue enjoying it, although her dad has sent in a request which he reminds her about!”

You can enquire about a piece of diamond art at the following email address (

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