Rory chips in to help families battle cancer
Rory McIlroy has opened a new support centre for children with cancer and vowed to see it replicated elsewhere.
The world number one golfer returned to Northern Ireland and the picturesque surroundings of Newcastle, Co Down, to unveil Daisy Lodge - a therapeutic short-break centre to which his charitable foundation has given £1 million (€1.27m).
The four-time major winner said this was only the beginning and added that he had been touched by what he learned during his visit.
"I definitely think it is a project I would like to see replicated and I think can be replicated.
"I don't think there is any reason why we should stop here."
Daisy Lodge is the first centre of its kind in the UK and Ireland and will provide families affected by childhood cancer in Northern Ireland with a free therapeutic short break and also cater for youngsters from the Republic.
This includes families nursing a child with cancer, the bereaved and families where a parent has been diagnosed.
Three out of 10 children with cancer die from the disease, according to the Cancer Fund for Children, which runs the centre nestled against the Mourne Mountains.
McIlroy said it was touching to be involved.
"It is about giving back and being able to help others."
He said he did not see any reason why his Rory Foundation, established last year to support charities with special meaning and purpose for him, could not expand and go further afield.
He said the cancer charity set very high goals and he would be there to support it all the way.
The Irish Open is being held at the Royal Co Down club in Newcastle next year, and hosted by the Rory Foundation.
The organisation, which was set up at the start of last year to raise funds for children's charities across the world, will also become the tournament's official charity.