NI mum locked inside Stormont on Mother’s Day

Sadie and daughter, Zara Porter, discovered they had been locked in at Stormont on Sunday. The photo was taken by Sadie's husband and Zara's father, Lewis Porter. (Photo: Zara Porter)
Sadie and daughter, Zara Porter, discovered they had been locked in at Stormont on Sunday. The photo was taken by Sadie's husband and Zara's father, Lewis Porter. (Photo: Zara Porter)

A Northern Ireland mother and daughter had a Mother’s Day to remember on Sunday when they were locked in at Stormont.

Sadie Porter and daughter, Zara, who are both from Richhill near Portadown, were enjoying a leisurely evening stroll in the grounds of Stormont on Sunday evening however when they attempted to leave they discovered they had been locked in.

“My family were up visiting for Mother’s Day and, after dinner, mum and I decided to take a walk up to Stormont. My dad and nana parked outside the gate in the Upper Newtonards Road and stayed in the car while mum and I took a jaunt up the hill,” said daughter, Zara Porter.

“We got up to Parliament Buildings and I spied David Blevins, the Sky news reporter. David just to be the assistant pastor in my church back home, so Mum and I waited until he’d finished filming his piece, and he informed us the talks had just broken down.

“As we walked back down the hill towards the main gate, I noticed the gates we’d walked in were now closed - but just assumed there’d be some way out. Mum and I reached the railings and I waved to get dad’s attention. He stepped out of the car to inform us that he’d seen the security guard locking up but presumed the guard would let us know the gates were closing…and to get out.”

Sadie and Zara remained calm and were able to see the funny side to what had happened.

“Unfortunately the guard had not seen us. Dad read the little plaque on the gate which stated quite clearly that the gates closed at 7pm - something we’d failed to observe on our way in!

“Finding it a little bit hilarious, I asked dad to quickly take a photo of us - passing my phone out through the railing. I tweeted the picture and put my phone back in my pocket so that we could make a plan of action! Dad took off in the car to drive around to the other entrance gate - on Massey Avenue - and told us to walk up and meet him there.”

Zara continued: “By this stage, mum and I were giggling away. I checked my phone and saw that the tweet was getting quite a response - with one user tweeting me a map of Stormont grounds to help us find our way out! We took a route through the trees to the side of the main avenue and, by this stage, I was getting well wishes on the Twittersphere - from the likes of Catherine Seeley and journalist, Tim Brannigan. One tweeter named us the ‘true victims of the collapsed Stormont discussion’!”

Phonecall

More than an hour later and Sadie and Zara managed to “escape” from Storomont and Zara was shocked at how the photo she tweeted was received on social media.

We got a phonecall from dad to let us know he’d managed to locate a security guard at the other gate, who agreed to open up to let us escape. Mum and I eventually navigated our way out through the trees and approached the security hut sheepishly! The guard was extremely helpful, pointing out that the Stormont website stated the closing time as 9pm, but that the signposts said differently!

“Finally we made our way safely to the other side of the gate - after about an hour of navigating our escape! The whole escapade got a really great response on Twitter, so that definitely kept us amused along the way!”