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The baby who fell 50ft into the arms of a passing hero

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Betty and Liam Burke

Betty and Liam Burke

Liam Burke meeting the then Lord Mayor of Dublin Maurice Dockrell and his wife at a function in the National Stadium

Liam Burke meeting the then Lord Mayor of Dublin Maurice Dockrell and his wife at a function in the National Stadium

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Betty and Liam Burke

SHE was the baby who made headlines after falling from a fourth-floor flat in Sheriff Street into the arms of a passing boy.

And just look at her now: Dubliner Betty Martin has eight children and eight grandchildren, nearly 53 years after her miracle rescue.

Her remarkable story came to light again recently following an appeal by Temple Street Children's Hospital, which was in search of special memories as part of its 140th birthday celebrations.

In April, hospital historian Barry Kennerk (36) told the Herald he would love to hear from two people dating back to September 1, 1960, Elizabeth McDermott and Liam Burke. "It would be lovely if they got in touch," he said.

There was a big response to the article and contact was made with Elizabeth, known as Betty to her family and friends.

While she was too young to remember the incident, she said: "My mother was always talking about it."

She said that her pregnant mother had a pot of stew on. Without her knowing, Betty climbed up on a chair and and fell out of a window.

"A young fella passing by caught me.They took me to Temple Street and kept me in overnight for observation. I only bit my tongue," she recalls.

Doctors said Betty was lucky to survive the 50ft fall.

She now lives five minutes away from where she grew up.

"I saw Liam when I was growing up. And at my 25th wedding anniversary, my kids got him there as a surprise."

Liam Burke, now 66, who lives in Blackhorse Avenue, remembers the day well.

"I was coming home from swimming. I saw clothes falling and I looked up and saw a baby on the ledge grabbing at a clothes line," he said.

"I instinctively put my hand out. We hit the ground with a solid thump."

fdillon@herald.ie


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