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Issue 85

Thursday 03rd April 2014 EVERY FORTNIGHT

p4 DUP election candidate Adele Crawford about how her experiences on the other side of the world have shaped her life and made her passionate about grassroots politics here at home…

Photo: Jay McGahran

Ronan Kerr award for Claire ONLY £1.25

p035

Win p51

FEATURE p23

Win a family pass to the Ester Extravaganza at Belfast Zoo.

Big day for the 'Fergie' at Ballygawley and Roscavey Rural Bygone fun day


Welcome...

ISSUE 85 | 03RD APR 2014 34

27

4

46

18

49

Were you fooled?

Big Interview

22

Health Focus: High cholesterol

30

Short story - Barney

35

New adventure awaits as Rita goes down under

42

Thousands take part in Omagh Marathon

45

Stevie Duncan steams ahead at Altamuskin

49

Omagh District Council - Sports Awards

50

Kids - Easter Extravaganza

Hard to believe it’s April already – time flies when you’re fortnightly! The clocks have gone forward and hopefully by now we have all adjusted to losing an hour in bed and are making the most of the extra daylight in the evenings (lawn mowers at the ready!) So, what have we for you this issue? First up we chatted to one of the DUP’s candidates for the forthcoming council elections, Adele Crawford. With no political background, Adele has spent a number of years travelling around the world and her fascinating life experiences have given her a unique perspective on life in general, but also on the things that need to change right here on our own doorstep. Speaking of travel, we caught up with the Western Trust’s Rita McCullagh who is leaving behind her job of keeping us media types up to speed in favour of sun and sea in Melbourne! Find out why, like so many of our brightest talents, she’s taking herself off to the other side of the world. Now, there’s one thing guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of parents and it’s school holidays!! How to keep the little darlings entertained for a fortnight? Well never fear, Omagh Today is here!! Check out our kids feature for things to do, plus money off at some local events AND the chance to win a family pass to Belfast Zoo! We are stuffed with pictures too – Omagh’s Half Marathon had more faces than we could ever squeeze into an issue, and Pat’s camera also popped up at Altamuskin, as well as the Bygone Farming day at Ballygawley, the Community Showcase at Strule, the Lion’s Club’s 40th anniversary dinner, the Omagh Sports Forum Awards, Mad March Hair day at Dunmullan PS, the Aware fashion show at Kelly’s Inn and loads more! Don’t forget that if you have a story you think we should cover, or an event you’d like photos of, we are only a phone call or an email away! Until next time!

READ/BUY OMAGH TODAY ONLINE at www.omaghtoday.com

CONTACT US EDITORIAL

Claire Martin - 077 2563 1646 | claire@omaghtoday.com Post to: Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT79 0UN

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DUP election candidate Adele Crawford about how her experiences on the other side of the world have shaped her life and made her passionate about grassroots politics here at home…

T

ACKLING issues like alcoholism, heroin addiction and child prostitution in postCommunist Russia isn’t what most graduates would choose to be doing when they could be tossing their mortar boards in the air and getting ready to party – but then local woman Adele Crawford has never been one to run with the pack. When the rest of her classmates from the University of Ulster were gowned up and celebrating, Adele was aboard a train as a missionary on the Trans-Siberian Railway; a journey that sparked a love affair with Russia and opened her eyes to oppression, exploitation and poverty of the most shocking kind. It was a far cry from Adele’s upbringing on a farm in the Clogher Valley. The eldest of three children, she was brought up in a tight-knit rural community where people of all traditions lived and worked side by side and politics seemed a bit of an abstract concept. Certainly, Adele never dreamed omaghtoday | 4

of pursuing a career in local government, so she was as surprised as anybody when she was offered the chance to contend a DUP seat at the forthcoming council elections – and yet in many ways, it’s as if every experience in her life so far has been leading her to this point. A former pupil of Carntall Primary School and Omagh Academy, Adele was one of the first students in Northern Ireland to complete a degree course in Linguistics at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. “My younger brother has Down Syndrome,” she explains, “and because of him I had wanted to do Speech and Language Therapy, but looking back now, I am so glad that I opted for Linguistics because this subject was so useful for my future travels.” After completing her degree, Adele was actually unable to attend her own graduation because she has already embarked on the Trans-Siberian for what was initially a six-week summer mission that would see her join an international team travelling from Estonia right across Russia, crossing 11 time zones and ending

up in Vladivostock. “Going off on my own didn’t bother me,” she says. “I think I have always had a spirit of adventure, even from when my sister and I were children exploring the countryside around our home. Over the six weeks we stopped off to help in different churches, and we were hosted by local families which was an amazing experience, especially as I didn’t speak a word of Russian!” This first trip offered a mere glimpse of the hardships of life in Russia, where many people live in extreme poverty with no welfare state to take care of them, and where problems like alcoholism are rife. When her six weeks were up, Adele returned home and worked full time for a market research company for a year, but she couldn’t ignore an inner voice that said her work in Russia was not complete. “I felt that God was directing me to go back there – but this time it was for two years, and in fact I ended up staying for a third year. The first six months I did language study in St Petersburg –I have to say Russian must be one of the most difficult languages to learn! The Russian people


are actually very warm once they get to know you but they are suspicious of foreigners to begin with and they weren’t very helpful when we were struggling to find our way around or buy groceries,” she laughs. After spending some time in the stunning and cosmopolitan city of St Petersburg, Adele was given the option to return to the city of Novosibirsk – a sprawling, grey, typically Soviet conurbation that Adele had already spent time in during her first trip to the country. “We worked with the Russian Baptist Church in the town of Bolotnoe. There was an orphanage housed in what used to be a concentration camp and there were no young people involved in the church – just about 25 grandmothers. Vodka is dirt cheap over there so it’s rare to meet a man over the age of 55 because most die young from alcoholism. “I remember looking out the window of our apartment one day and seeing kids on the street, begging. I said to my flatmates that we should make a big pot of soup or stew and bring them in, get them warmed up – the temperatures could drop to minus 50 degrees. So we started a children’s club in our house and we would have maybe 30 kids coming in – most of them had parents who were alcoholics or drug addicts so they would send the kids out to beg for money to feed their habit. Anybody with money or means would leave Bolotnoe to go to the main city so if your life was in the village, that basically meant you had no hope. Most of the street kids were addicted to glue sniffing and a lot of the young people were on heroin. The first heroin addict I met was the same age as me and he was just like a skeleton. We worked with that fella, we got him into a rehab centre run by the church in Novosibirsk, and he actually got his life turned around. He’s married now with a

son of his own. It taught me the value of looking deeper to see what makes people do the things they do, and how just showing somebody a bit of care can help them to change their life. I will never forget it.” That wasn’t the only harrowing case Adele encountered during her years in Russia. Many of the children she came into contact with had already suffered unimaginable hardship in their short lives – many of them orphaned and turning to glue sniffing to get away from the fact that they were living rough and being abused or even pimped out by adults desperate for money. Children as young as 8 were self harming to try and alleviate the pain they were suffering at the hands of others. “Of all the things I did in Russia working with those children was the hardest and the most rewarding. We had nothing to give them except our love and it was amazing to see them respond. We took them on trips out of the city to just let them be children for a while and it was wonderful to see but it broke my heart that we couldn’t do more,” she says. Adele admits that these experiences caused her to question everything she thought she knew. During her time in Siberia she also qualified to teach English as a foreign language, and after three years of Russian life, she felt a strong need to try something completely different. She says: “I’d studied for a TEFL diploma in Bournemouth while I was waiting on a Russian work visa to come through so after I left, I went back there to stay with friends and got a job for a year. Then I went to Brazil to travel for six months. I had some pretty difficult experiences there and ended up completely alone in a country where I knew

“When I found out I was pregnant it was a big shock for me but coming from my church and missionary background, it was anathema to many of the people I knew. no-one. It was actually a Brazilian student of mine who I’d taught in Bournemouth that put me in touch with a Christian family and they took me into their home – they didn’t ask any questions, they just showed me the unconditional love I needed at that point in my life.” Adele returned home soon afterwards and settled in Belfast, unaware that another life-changing experience was just around the corner. She explains: “When I found out I was pregnant it was a big shock for me but coming from my church and missionary background, it was anathema to many of the people I knew. But I knew that like every other challenge I’d faced in life, I would just get on with it.” That was eight years ago, and Adele is now proud mum to Caleb. Motherhood hasn’t changed her outlook on life, though; she and Caleb have already lived in England,

and also in Spain, where Adele owned an English language school and Caleb attended a Spanish-speaking pre-school. When the economic crisis put an end to their Spanish adventure, they returned to Clogher, and during this time Adele studied for a Masters degree at Queen’s University whilst lecturing in Academic English in the International Student department at Queen’s. She has also lectured in the University of Ulster and Birmingham City University. After deciding to take a completely new career path, Adele started work in the DUP Advice Centre in January where she works closely with MLA Tom Buchanan, as his research assistant. Nobody was more surprised than she when her name was mooted for the forthcoming election. She says: “When I applied for this job Tom [Buchanan] explained to me that I would never know what was coming through the door and in a strange way I felt like it was made for me – it’s a bit like my missionary work, because you never know what situation you will be confronted with next, and it’s your job to help in whatever way you can. “Since I started working in here I’ve had my eyes opened to what politics really is and what it means on the ground. Issues like legal highs here in Omagh have really reignited that fire in my belly to reach out to the people who are falling through the cracks. I think it’s so important to sit down and get alongside people, listen to them and find out about the journey they’ve been on. In Northern Ireland we’re very good at labelling people and if they don’t fit into a pigeonhole then they’re ostracized, and I don’t agree with that – I’ve been on the receiving end of it. Recently I had the privilege of representing Tom at a conference highlighting the growing problem of human trafficking here. I strongly believe that no human ought ever to be in slavery. I look forward to embarking on more opportunities like this to be able to make a difference in others’ lives. My background and my experiences may seem quite contradictory, but I believe that God created us all different and that those differences should be celebrated and encouraged. I believe that God can take our mistakes and make something of purpose out of them. That’s what people need to hear now from our political representatives- a message of hope for our future. “I have always stayed true to myself and the things I believe in, and fundamentally I think the DUP is the same. I admire the way they stick to their principles in a rapidly changing Northern Ireland. “It’s all about how you get your message across – it’s about being real with people. My life has taught me not to look at the outside. There is enough negativity and suffering in our community- and it’s in my heart to bring hope and help to those who need it. My own life experiences have enabled me to look at life through different eyes and to realize that unless you have walked in someone’s shoes you can never truly understand where they have come from. Life’s challenges have made me stronger and more determined to work hard to help other people. I know I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations and there may be things I can’t change – but I’ll always do my best, and I’ll always just be myself.” omaghtoday | 5


PAGE

Engagements, weddings, babies, gossip…

well, if it’s good enough for the NewYork Post, it’s good enough for us!

Pictured during their engagement photoshoot are local couple Rob Fyffe and Emma Crean, who will tie the knot on May 24 this year at Edenderry Parish Church with reception to follow at Larchfield Estate, Lisburn. The pair got together five years ago after meeting through mutual friends, and got engaged at sunset on Sarasota Beach, Siesta Key, Florida. Photo: Photography by Brideen.

Pictured enjoying a very rare glimpse of winter sun on their wedding day back in November are Lynsey Evans and Mark McCabe, along with their super-cute daughter Lucy who was without doubt the best-dressed guest on the day! Mark and Lynsey tied the knot at Mountjoy Presbyterian Church and held their wedding reception at the Enniskillen Hotel. Photo: Natalie Doherty Photography.

We knew when she appeared on the cover of issue 83 that Shauna Kelly was going to be a beautiful bride – and she didn’t disappoint! Shauna is pictured looking absolutely breathtaking along with new husband Paul Heaney shortly after they tied the knot on March 14 at St Lawrence’s Church in Fintona. The newlyweds have set up home in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Erica Irvine Photography.

Pictured in the stunning grounds of Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, Co Leitrim, are newlyweds Catherine McNally from Tempo and Eamonn Gunn from Derrylin. The pair tied the knot in that glorious window between Christmas and New Year, on December 28, and left frosty Ireland behind in favour of a honeymoon in St Lucia before returning to their home of the last four years, New York City. Catherine and Eamonn. Photo: Sarah Fyffe Photography

Proud parents Tony and Rose Glass from Greencastle cradle their newborn daughter Grace, who made her grand entrance into the world on January 16 weighing 8lb 12oz. Grace is the couple’s first baby. Photo: Katrina Taggart Photography.

Congratulations to everyone who has featured on Page Six this edition! If you would like to have your photo featured here, email claire@omaghtoday.com

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Award winning Emma

OMAGH hairstylist Emma Toal had reason to celebrate recently when she returned to her salon with not one, not two – but three awards from the annual National Hairdressing Federation competition held in Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Emma travelled over to Blackpool as part of an elite team chosen by Enchanted Hair, a ‘real hair’ extension product used by Emma at Cut Loose on the Gortin Road.

Showcase talent

Gallow"s Hill community group at their performance in the Showcase concert in the Strule Arts Centre last Friday night. The community showcase shows continue this Friday and Saturday night.

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TALKOFTHETOWN Young entrepreneurs celebrate business success

Young entrepreneurs from Omagh CBS, Omagh Academy and Arvalee School celebrated titanic success recently when they achieved top awards at the Young Enterprise NI Gala Celebration, held at Titanic Belfast. The students have spent much of the academic year developing businesses through the Young Enterprise Company and Team Programmes. The Christian Brothers Grammar School company named ‘IllumiNight’ took three prizes for the Company Programme in the

The Christian Brothers and Arvalee winners will now go into the Northern Ireland Company of the Year Final held at Belfast City Hall in May. The Gala Celebration, held in partnership with Invest NI, recognised the achievements of young people across Northern Ireland in the Young Enterprise Company and Team Programmes. The Sperrins & Lakelands area awards were supported by Omagh Enterprise Centre and McBride Retail Group. More than 1,500 young people take up the challenge each year with 600 filling Titanic Belfast for the annual awards ceremony. Young Enterprise NI is a charity delivering hands-on business education to more than 100,000 4-25 year old young people each year. The charity is principally funded by the Department of Education. For more information including volunteering and fundraising opportunities please visit www.yeni.co.uk.

Omagh CBS's 'iluminight' are presented with their award Sperrins & Lakelands area. They were awarded Best Company and Best Social Enterprise while Corey Duffy from the company was awarded Entrepreneur of the Future. Omagh Academy’s company named ‘Mini Mixers’ were given the Marketing Award, while Arvalee School were given Best Company award for the Team Programme. Daniel Thompson from Arvalee School was presented with the Young Entrepreneur Award in the Team Programme.

Arvalee School's 'Bizzy Bees' are presented with the Sperrins & Lakelands area Best Team Programme company award. 2014.

Stagefright to reprise awardwinning ‘Nightmare’ for one night only Stagefright Theatre Company have just finished their successful run on the festival circuit for 2014 with their production of ‘Nightmare’ by Norman Robbins, and are pictured with their impressive haul of silverware! The group will return for one final performance in Omagh at St Joseph’s Hall on Sunday, April 6 at 8pm. Tickets are £7. Standing from left are: N. Campbell, A. O'Neill, E. Floyd, N.McElduff, R. McGlinchey, B. Shields, A. McElholm, E. Fitzpatrick, J. McKenna. Seated from left are: N.P. Colgan, M.McManus, B. McCrory T. Colgan. (Missing from photo, James Colgan).

St Mary's P. S., Killyclogher go ECO green St Mary’s Primary School children were delighted to obtain the ECO Schools’ Green Flag. The assessor who visited the school praised the knowledgeable and enthusiastic committee and the whole school involvement in planting, recycling and energy saving

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The Parent Support Group of St Mary’s Primary School recently purchased 12 i Pads for the school.


Lisnacrieve Primary School reunion planned

Lisnacrieve Primary School, near Fintona, which was the fountain of education for pupils from that area during the years 1859 to 1961. Former pupils and friends of the school are organising a reunion in Fintona Golf Club on Saturday 26th April commencing at 7.30 sharp. A four course meal has been organised and the organisers have requested 'casual wear' for the evening. All associated with the school will be warmly welcomed and there will be a display of photographs, entertainment and lots of old and new friends. tickets are £15 each and can be secured from 07760105023 or 07871765119.

Sixmilecross Historical group appeal for memorabilia SIXMILECROSS Historical group are appealing for any historical memorabilia regarding village life and also the railway. Their next meeting is on Monday, April 14 at 8pm and all are welcome. Refreshments served. The next monthly Committee meeting takes place in the centre on Monday, April 7 -new members always welcome. Community Choir meets every Thursday at 8.00pm in Sixmilecross Centre. Food Hygiene Course is now on offer at the Centre Tuesday 7pm to 10pm on April 1 and April 8. Please contact the centre Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9am to 1pm. You can also leave a message with your contact details outside of these hours at 028 8075 8944. Tuition is available in small groups - please contact the centre at 028 8075 8944 for more information. This is for all primary school children looking for help with numeracy & literacy. A raffle will take place on May 2 to raise funds for Sixmilecross Community Crèche - 1st prize 2 x One Direction tickets, 2nd prize 2 x Garth Brooks tickets. Tickets are £1 a ticket or a book of 6 for £5; please call the centre at 028 8075 8944 or email sixmilecrosscommunity@hotmail.co.uk. These tickets can also be purchased in local businesses in Sixmilecross.

www.facebook.com/dergcarpets.andfurniture

Pioneering hair and scalp treatment at Hi-Tec Hi-Tec hairdresser Shauna Campbell carries out a consultation with a client who suffers from a sensitive, itchy scalp during a special in-salon event to showcase their new ‘ACTYVA’ service. This new service offers a customized answer to every hair and scalp need, thanks to a microscopic camera which allows client and consultant to study the hair and scalp in great çrmation entered into the computer programme, allows a suitable in salon treatment to be prescribed, with the option to purchase home care products at reasonable prices that will compliment this. Options include purification treatments, which purify, balance and soothe difficult scalps; discipline products, which soften and control frizzy, dry, rebellious hair; P Factor to prevent hair loss and counteract the damaging effects of free radicals; strengthening products for the restoration of weakened damaged hair; and equilibrium for excessively greasy hair. To avail of this pioneering service, exclusive to Hi Tec, phone 028 8224 7863 and book an appointment for the next clinic. omaghtoday | 9


If it’s 4am and you feel you can’t cope any more, who is there for you? OMAGH Samaritans have been helping people who are finding it difficult to cope for more than forty years now. At the moment there are over eighty volunteers in Omagh branch who help to provide their unique service, which took calls from over 14,000 people last year at Omagh branch alone - and over five million nationwide. ‘’People who’ve used our service say that simply having someone to talk to can be of great help. It can begin to sort out confused feelings, relieve the pressure, and encourage you to believe that there is a way forward. We know that life can be unbelievably tough. We don't have a magic wand to make your problems disappear. But, given the chance, many people are able to find a way through their problems themselves, if there is someone there giving them time and space to talk. “We can help you to explore your options and come to your own decisions about what's best for you. Our support may help you find your own way forward,’’ said a spokesperson for the local branch. “We never know when you might want to talk to us. That’s why we’re always open, round the clock, every single day of the year. If our branch is not open your call will transfer to another branch. We want you to feel safe while talking to us, so you can tell us how you’re really feeling. That’s why we’re totally confidential. “Whoever you are, however you feel, whatever life’s done to you, you can be yourself with us. Sometimes what you’d really like is someone just to listen without judging you. Maybe then you’d figure out the answer yourself, or at least have got a load off your mind. That’s what we’re here for. Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.” Contact Samaritans on 028 8224 4944 or e-mail jo@samaritans.org. If you prefer to talk face to face you can call at 30 Campsie Crescent, Omagh. BT79 0AD. For more information visit www.samaritans. org

Local firm welcomes new ‘blind safe’ regulations OMAGH company Charism Blinds has welcomed new legislation on window blind safety which will come into effect later this year. The new laws will make it illegal to sell or professionally install a window blind that does not meet the standards, which are designed to prevent children becoming entangled in blind cords and chains. The new rules will include maximum cord and chain lengths, the fitting of safety devices at the point of manufactures, product warnings, point of sale information and instructions on packaging. Roy Cuthbertson of Charisma Blinds said: “As a member of the British Blind and Shutter Association, which has campaigned for and worked towards the introduction of this new legislation, we fully support the new regulations. As well as ensuring all new window blinds we supply are compliant and fitted correctly, we are also ready to help any customer who has existing blinds with cords or chains – we can fit devices to make these safer.” Since 2009 the BBSA has worked to educate consumers about window blinds with cords or chains which could form a hazardous loop and its ‘Make it Safe’ campaign is endorsed by the Child Accident Prevention Trust and RoSPA. omaghtoday | 11


I recently bought a collection of over 500 cards. This was the only Omagh card in it. I was very pleased to get it because it is very good condition and had been posted which provides dating evidence. The other copy of this card I have is badly damaged. It differs to this card in that the strip on the right hand side is wider and has details for the Royal Arms Hotel and Reform stores with John G Porter shown as the proprietor. The card was posted in 1909 but dates from the turn of the century. It is more than likely that the only two places where you could buy this card was in the Hotel reception and in the Reform stores. It is possible that other versions of this card, which included the telephone number of the Hotel, were available free or reduced price to Hotel guests. The Royal Arms was said to have been in existence for over 200 years but I am sure that it did not trade continuously under the name of the 'Royal Arms'. For example in 1866 the Hotel at 51 High Street was known as 'Orrs', being run by Eliza Orr. John Porter was shown in early street directories (around 1877) as a cattle dealer, auctioneer and proprietor of the Royal Arms Hotel. At some point after he took over the Royal Arms he opened the Reform Stores. At the time of this card the Arms was a ‘Temperance Hotel’, in other words they did not serve alcoholic beverages. The Reform Stores was also part of the movement to remove alcohol from society. At the time it was common for grocery stores to sell

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and serve drink as well; they were known as ‘Spirit Groceries’. It is difficult to know how many Hotels were in Omagh at any given time. Different street directories list different Hotels although it is obvious that many Hotels such as the Royal Arms operated continuously. The Stewart Arms at Abbey Street, now the Hogs Head, is not listed in all the directories. Likewise the Eagle Hotel in the Dublin Road is mentioned infrequently. One prominent feature of this card is the Royal Arms Hotel's carriage. The White Hart Hotel and the Royal Arms both ran carriages to and from the train station. I doubt if any of the smaller hotels ran such a services but it is just possible that they did. In time the Royal Arms Hotel's horse drawn carriage was replaced by a motorised van, visible in a number of cards from the 1930s. The people outside the Reform Stores are obviously the shop staff. The man on the carriage is the driver, which leaves us with the two men and child outside the hotel. In all likelihood it is John Porter, on the right, with his business partner William Thompson. I have no idea who the small child might be. This card survived because it was sent from the hotel to the Linen Hall Hotel in Belfast to reserve a room. The manageress added it to her collection and now I have added it to mine. postcards@mgtaggart.com


Room without a roof

Bessie Belle

An Omagh’s girl’s take on life... Isn’t there a quare stretch in the evenings now? It’s great to see, but you know you’re getting older when that stretch actually means something to you. It’s amazing the difference a bit more light and the appearance of that strange glowing orb in the sky makes. Spring is in the air and there’s a spring in my step once more. It’s great to hear the birds chirping and the wee lambs baaing in the fields, except, of course, if you’re a townie and you can’t appreciate pleasures like that. When you look out the window in the morning and everything is bright and fresh-looking, it definitely puts you in good humour. The aul dreary, dull gloom of winter is finally over and life just seems better, doesn’t it? It’s like we’ve emerged from a dark cave and boy, does it feels good. I found myself singing as I drove to work the other morning, even as I was stuck in a queue of traffic. I would have happily sat there in the car just enjoying the brightness and the music for as long as I had to. I think other people must’ve been in good form too because I never noticed one road rage incident or impatient beeping, or even a good fist shake. After I parked the car, I was walking towards the office thinking how lucky I was. I know! Some change there from the moaning Minnie I usually am. For some reason I could only think of all the good things I had in my life. It was a funny feeling, I had to admit, and one that I haven’t felt in a long time. I had, “Cos I’m happy, happy, happy,”

going round in my head all day. Everyone at work was all giddy and bright too, I even smiled and said hello to the geeky IT guy. He took a reddener and scurried off, but I thought kindly of him rather than thinking how weird he was. It was a shock to the system. I decided I shouldn’t do that again, in case it gave him any ideas. You can’t be too careful. I wouldn’t want anyone falling in love with me now that I’ve decided I will remain manless for the foreseeable future. That would be…just typical! St Patrick’s Day went off well enough too it seems. I was very well behaved. I only slightly dipped my shamrock rather than drowning it completely this year, unlike yer doll in Derry who had to be lifted into the bus lane for her own safety. Sure it was grand! I’m sure there weren’t a lot of buses on that day. Imagine the hangover she’d have had and, worse, her rock bottom was caught on camera. Another thing I’m grateful for is that camera phones weren’t around in my hallion days. If I’d seen what I had been like I probably would have died from mortification and would have mended my ways sooner. That means I would have missed a heck of a lot of other crazy nights and those memories are what will keep me chuckling to myself in the corner of my retirement home in the not too distant future! I probably missed out on a small fortune of payments from “You’ve been Framed” though. Oh well, at least my dignity remains intact…sort of.

Omagh's Last Sure Start information morning

Christina Patton with Martina Terena Conlon with son O'Hanlon, Last Sure Start Health Tristan and Patricia Grimes from LAST Sure Start. Improvement worker.

Right: Mary Kelly, centre, with Annette McCaffrey and Michelle Loughran at the Oias stand. omaghtoday | 13


Charlie

As it was to where it is now No. 84

Andy Gordon

One of my least favourite things in life is one of those chores that no husband, father or son can escape from. Maybe as a son he can use football training or homework as an excuse for sloping off. When he becomes a father, he is duty bound to attempt to at least show some interest in this chore, so that his children – boys in particular – may see the value in it. But as a husband, there is no possibility of escaping! He lives on the edge of his nerves, just waiting to hear the dreaded phrase: “I think the bathroom needs decorating.” It would be fine if that were all there was to it – getting a brush or roller in your hand and slapping on a few coats of emulsion – but no, that’s the easy part. Clearing out the room means squeezing past its contents as we traverse the hallway; preparing surfaces by stripping, filling in and rubbing down leaves us heading off to work with a thin layer of dust no matter how hard we brush ourselves; and then, of course, that room looks so fresh and bright that – “while we have the brushes and rollers out shouldn’t we do the - - - -” – is the next phrase we try not to hear. And so it was that, with our Jeni tying the knot in early April, and the in-laws coming to stay a bit, it was felt – by a higher power - that a bit of sprucing up was in order! Now that higher power knows me inside out, and to her eternal credit, had undertaken the predecorating tasks, leaving me to slap on – sorry - apply a few coats of paint. With the bathroom finished and looking good I hear “what about the studio ceiling, it could do with a coat?” Well she had a point. A roof leak had left a few blemishes and a crack had also appeared – I think it was after listening to a Johnny Cash track – so, what could I do but agree? But here’s the thing. I loved doing it! And all because I was in the studio listening to great music – ‘Foreverly’, the Norah Jones album and ‘What the Brothers Sang’ by Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie Prince Billy – two wonderful tributes to the Everly Brothers that I have mentioned and enthused to you before. And then it was our very own Dirty Blues Band album ‘Pot Bellies and Bum Notes’. I haven’t listened to it for ages and I must say it was as fresh today as it was on my first hearing back in 2010. The voice of Mark McCausland on that album led me to the Lost Brothers, and this is where it all fell apart – I couldn’t find their latest, ‘The Passing of the Night’. Brush and roller set down and dust sheets moved, I searched high up and low down and could not find it – and still haven’t. Spending hours looking for various mislaid items in this house has taken up, I estimate, weeks of my life! Which brings me to a good friend of mine and a strange text message I got from him recently. He is something of a genius when it comes to motorised vehicles, and a great man to know if you don’t know your big end from your universal joint! He texted that he had won a medal in a cycling time trial in Fintona but, alas, had lost it on the way home to Omagh. He thought if I mentioned it in Omagh Today, maybe someone would have found it, and could get it to me, and then back to him. So that’s the challenge. Oh, when did he lose it? He thinks possibly 1981 or 1982, or even 1983! Good luck with your search! omaghtoday | 14

& andY

Charlie Taggart

I recently went to the J .P. Mac Johnny Cash tribute show, in Cookstown. The concert was entertaining and very lively, with the audience joining in on some of the songs. The songs were well chosen for that particular type of show, with people on their feet shouting for more at the end of the evening, singing along to ‘Ring of Fire’. Unfortunately the bar was kept open and this caused ‘white noise’ which detracted somewhat from the performances. Maybe some enterprising promoter will bring the show to a suitable venue in Omagh. Listening to Merle Haggard and George Jones duetting on ‘Yesterday’s Wine’ is to experience country music at its best. Merle Haggard was born on the 6th of April in 1937 in Bakersfield, California. Haggard was one of the most important and enduring country singers and songwriters to emerge in the 1960s. As I have said before, in his early career he took a lot of his inspiration from Lefty Frizzell, and then he developed his own style encompassing jazz, blues, folk, western swing and even bluegrass. Merle is a product of his early rough environment and some of his song writing reflects this. Merle also recorded songs aimed at other artists, one of those being ‘Out Among The Stars’ although the song did not gain much traction. Glaswegian Adam Mitchell wrote the song and when Cash’s version was not released, he gave the song to Haggard. This song had previously been recorded by Johnny Cash but not released by Columbia as they did not know how to market him. The changing music market dominated by country radio and slick music videos ensured that the public was avidly looking for the next new thing. The tapes for ‘Out Among The Stars’ were shipped to New York and transferred to digital. A few things were added, and Marty Stuart replaced his original guitar playing to give the recording a more contemporary sound. Sony Legacy, a subsidiary of Columbia records, is releasing this record and if this one is successful there will be more to come. Jonathan Holiff, son of Johnny Cash’s one time manager Saul Holiff, has released a major documentary entitled ‘My Father And the Man in Black’ in the States. This documentary covers the difficult years Saul presided as Johnny’s manager. Don Williams has a new album just released titled ‘Reflections’; this is a bit confusing as there was a previous compilation release with that title. Don is due to tour here in May, and at least this tour is not being promoted once again as his last tour! Don Williams’ music is easy listening music and is ideal to relax to after a busy day. The stand out track on this release is the Townes Van Zant song ‘I’ll Be Here in the Morning’. Today I will finish with an old news story. A sub editor had doubts about a trainee’s story on a farmer who had lost 2025 pigs on a small farm near a little village. “Is it true you lost two thousand and twenty five pigs?” “Yeth,” lisped the farmer. “That wath the situation.” The sub editor said thanks, hung up and corrected the copy to read: Two sows and 25 pigs.


The Budget 2014 – how it affects you

Two major changes announced in the 2014 budget relate to ISA savings accounts, and pensions. Eileen and Leo from S Hill & Co Investment Consultants take us through the outworkings of these changes…

The new ISA (NISA)

From July 1, 2014 ISAs will be reformed into a simpler product, called the 'New ISA ' (NISA). From 1st July the overall annual subscription limit for these accounts will be increased to £15,000 for 2014/15. ISA savers will also be able to subscribe this full amount to a cash account (currently only 50% of the overall limit can be saved in cash). Under the NISA, investors will also have new rights to transfer their investments from a stocks and shares to a cash account. There will be consequential changes to the rules on the investments that can be held in a NISA, so that a wider range of securities can be invested. The amount that can be subscribed to a child's Junior ISA or CTF in 2014 - 15 will also be increased to £4,000. These measures will increase the choice and flexibility available to savers.

Pension Reform

There was some pension stuff too, or to quote the man himself “the most far reaching reform to the taxation of pensions since the regime was introduced in 1921”. The Government is proposing that from April 2015 individuals with defined contribution pension savings should be able to access those savings as they wish at retirement. The Government is consulting on these proposals with a closing date of 11th June. Currently when benefits are crystallised normally 25% of the fund can be taken as tax free cash and if the remainder is taken as a lump sum it will normally be subject to an unauthorised payment charge of 55%. From April 2015 it is proposed the tax free cash of normally 25% can still be taken but the remainder of the fund will also be What does it mean for you? available as a lump sum subject to tax at the individual's marginal This is a consultation document and there will be no changes rate of income tax, i.e. 20% for basic rate and 40% for higher rate before April 2015. However the proposals could have an impact tax payer. on planning during the next year and clients may delay making In advance of the proposed changes in April 2015 there are some decisions. It may also mean that many clients want to increase more immediate changes, taking effect from March 27. pension contributions. Further consultations are to be carried The trivial commutation lump sum will increase out regarding the abolition of the Age 75 rule from £18,000 to £30,000 for commutation which prevents individuals aged 75 and over from periods beginning on or after 27th March 2014. claiming tax relief on their contributions; and This change allows those members whose pots also on raising the age at which an individual were more than £18,000 but less than £30,000 can take their private pensions savings from 55 to take the full pot without having to purchase to 57 in 2028 (the point that the State Pension an annuity. Care needs to be taken to ensure age increases to 67). Those individuals who are that the member continues to have sustainable intending to retire at age 55 beyond 2028 should income throughout retirement. review their retirement strategy. The maximum that can be taken from a small pension pot as a lump sum will increase from Child Benefit / Pension £2,000 to £10,000. This change allows those Make a pension contribution and maintain members who have a few different small pots your child benefit. The quickest and probably to take a maximum of three pots under £10,000 the easiest way to keep your child benefit is to as a lump sum. This is most beneficial to those increase or begin making contributions to a Leo Doody, one of the advisers at members who have one large fund and other pension. S. Hill & Co., Fintona. smaller amounts of pension savings. It may This should be done by salary sacrifice and can also mean that members can take smaller pots be paid into an occupational pension run by your now and await any changes in legislation. employer or to an independent personal pension. Doing this will In addition it will be possible for a member with three reduce your taxable pay and depending on your contribution could arrangements under £10,000 and a fourth arrangement under bring you beneath the higher tax rate threshold so you get to keep £30,000 to take all of these arrangements in the next year which your child benefit payments. For a family with 3 children child would potentially be almost £60,000. However to do this, the small benefit is currently worth £2,449.20 per annum so paying an extra lump sums must be taken first. £1,000 or £2,000 in pension contributions would not only boost In summary the budget stated that the government want to your retirement savings but is likely to leave you better off overall legislate to allow those with a defined contribution scheme the as well. choice about how this might be taken .The consultation means If you require further details on any issue discussed above please that currently those with small and very large pension pots have do not hesitate to call Eileen or Leo on 02882841080, mobile a flexibility but that these changes would give all individuals the 07793035024, or email eileen.brogan@investmentdecisions.co.uk same choices; full withdrawal, annuity purchase or drawdown . omaghtoday | 15


Mums get spoiled at Omagh County PS Omagh County Primary School held a special Mothers Day Spring Assembly on Friday, March 21 where pupils had the chance to melt hearts by showing just how much they love their mums! Year 1 sang spring actions songs and rhymes, while Year 2 told everyone how much their mummies meant to them. Year 3 acted out the story of the 'Easter Party'. The performance was narrated by senior pupils, and parents and grandparents were entertained by the senior and junior choirs. After the assembly, parents and friends enjoyed a daffodil coffee morning of scones and cupcakes provided by the school meals staff.

Lili, Louise, Wicktoria and Amy who were Yvonne and Jim Graham pictured at the Mother’s Day characters from the Year 3 performance Spring Assembly in Omagh County PS along with their of 'The Easter Party’ especially for all the granddaughter Sarah. mums at Omagh County PS.

Parents enjoy the daffodil coffee morning following a special spring assembly at Omagh County PS.

Puddlefest organisers look ahead to full day of music in Clanabogan FROM jazz to trad to country and everything in between – a musical extravaganza is on offer when Puddleducks Playgroup at Camphill Community hosts its 7th annual ‘Puddlefest’ to raise funds for the playgroup. Taking place on Saturday, April 5, the event will include music, poetry and storytelling featuring the best of local grassroots singers and musicians. This year’s line-up includes a wide range of musical styles and performers of all ages, from the Primary School choirs of Omagh County Primary School and Omagh Integrated Primary School, to local jazz piano legend, Ray Moore. Also featured will be local bands, Stone Resistance and Triple Vision; solo sets from local performer Anne-Marie Martin who is presently recording her debut album; singers Jake Versoza, Lee Cheung and Ederney’s Dave McKervey, and up and coming young vocalist, Grainne Shields. The ever-popular Cappagh Traditional Group will once again keep the toes tapping with their unique brand of reels and jigs, and the Open Door Poetry Group will perform a range of original and classic poetry. This and much more will provide a great day of entertainment. There will be tea and cake stalls as well as children’s storytelling, and your support will greatly help the work of Puddleducks Playgroup. The Festival will begin at 10.30am with an opening set from singer-songwriter Doyle Mills, and will conclude 12 hours later with a special tribute band celebrating the music of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Neil Young and Van Morrison. Musicians, both experienced and novice are encouraged to bring their own instrument as there will be room for impromptu sessions. Plan to come along either to simply enjoy or participate in this exciting music day.

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APRIL omaghtoday | 16


Omagh Lions celebrate their fortieth

Omagh Lions President Denis Geelan with Geraldine O'Reilly who will take over the role as the next Omagh President.

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Tony Laird receives the Melvin Jones Fellowship award from Anne Brannigan presents the Omagh Lions president Denis Geelan and District Governor Paddy Brannigan Memorial award Liam Lyons at the Omagh Lions Club 40th anniversary dinner to Margaret Geelan. in the Silverbirch Hotel on Saturday night.


First ever Omagh Bizcamp to be held locally

The Survive and Thrive II Business Mentoring Programme in partnership with Omagh Chamber of Commerce and Industry are hosting the first ever Omagh Bizcamp on Wednesday, April 9 in the Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh. Survive and Thrive II is a business support programme being delivered by Omagh and Fermanagh District Councils and is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland. Omagh Bizcamp is a unique event which is a celebration of all aspects of business life in Omagh and will showcase the rich talent and experience that exists in this area. The event, which will run from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm will take the form of a one-stopshop for the local business community and will provide information on business support, how to learn new skills and attend talks from other successful entrepreneurs. The theme of the 2014 Omagh Bizcamp will be: Start IT, Grow IT, Sell IT. Talks will be delivered by Ben O’Hanlon from Todds Leap who will explain how he started his award winning business. Todds Leap started as a one man organisation 25 years ago with a single vehicle and has grown into a multi-million pound business, with over 75 employees and 40,000 + visitors each year. Paul Conlon from CK International who has experienced firsthand the growth from a one man band to managing three international companies. Paul is used as a prime example at leadership programmes of how someone should run and grow their business. Finally Paul Clancy from the Angel Investment Company HALO will explain how HALO helps companies to prepare for and understand the angel investment process. Paul will show what Angels are

BUSINESS MENTORING PROGRAMME

Omagh Biz Camp ‘Start it … Grow it … Sell It’ Wednesday 9th April 2014, 6.00pm-9.00pm Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh

Are you in business or thinking of starting a business? Then Omagh Biz Camp has something for you. • • • •

Business Support & Business Start Up Employer Support Business Information Business to business connections

Also available … talks from successful enterpreneurs on their business journey... Engage with IT experts to explore internet marketing and social media

looking for and how this process can lead to a strong company. Omagh Bizcamp is open to existing businesses and those thinking about starting up a business and attendees can drop in during the evening to talk to business support agencies such as Invest NI, Omagh District Council, Intertrade Ireland, The Princes Trust, Health & Safety Works NI and the full range of locally based banks. In welcoming the staging of the unique event, the Chairman of Omagh District Council, Councillor Martin McColgan said that all business people have individual knowledge, experience and skills, which could be of benefit to others in business or those thinking of starting up a business. “Omagh Bizcamp is an opportunity to showcase and share business experience for the good of the entire business community. Survive and Thrive II and Omagh Chamber of Commerce are seeking to create an energetic event in the Omagh area to promote business people

Trish OKane, Drumquin Post Office, Elaine Fyffe, Omagh Chamber of Commerce, Cllr Martin McColgan, Chairman ODC, Julian McKeown, President Omagh Chamber of Commerce, Noelle McAloon, Survive & Thrive, Agnieszka Szczepanek, Dev Retail at the recent Survive & Thrive II workshop, How to Pitch Perfectly.

Contact: Noelle on 078 7242 4246 noelle.mcaloon@fermanagh.gov.uk or Elaine 077 3438 9484 admin@omaghchamber.com to register

This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland

supporting business people” he said. The president of Omagh Chamber of Commerce Mr Julian McKeown is delighted to be part of this unique event: “The aim is to engage as many members of the business community as possible from this area and beyond. There is a wealth of business experience and acumen to be shared with both experienced and inexperienced business people alike,” Omagh Bizcamp is open to entrepreneurs from all sectors and levels of experience, those interested in starting a business, those wanting to share business experiences, those looking for inspiration or motivation and those looking to meet with like minds and it will feature a unique mixture of formal speakers with backgrounds and expertise in specific business areas. If you wish to attend the Omagh Bizcamp please contact Noelle on 07855995107 or Elaine on 07734389484. Further information on Survive and Thrive II can also be obtained from Noelle.

Jim McEnhill, MUST Communications, Seamus McAdams, I2 Total Marketing, Cllr Martin McColgan, Chairman ODC, Julian McKeown, ABAC and Omagh Chamber of Commerce, Noelle McAloon, Survive & Thrive, Kieran McCrory, Omagh District Council, Seanie Meyler, Meyler Coaching at the How to Pitch Perfectly workshop. omaghtoday | 19


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All drinks £2.50 B4 12am

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High cholesterol Cholesterol is a type of fat made by your body. It's essential for good health and is found in every cell in your body. However, having a high level of certain types of cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits to build up inside your blood vessels. In time, the blood vessels supplying your heart may become so narrow they can't deliver enough oxygen to your heart muscle, particularly when you're exerting yourself. This can cause you to feel chest pain (angina). If a fatty plaque breaks off, it may cause a blood clot that can block blood flow to your heart (heart attack), or if the same process occurs in your brain it may cause a stroke. There are two ‘types’ of cholesterol. ‘HDL’, which is made up mostly of protein and considered to be ‘good’ cholesterol, and ‘LDL’ which is composed mostly of fat, and is regarded as ‘bad’ cholesterol. Your ‘total cholesterol’ level refers to the overall level of cholesterol in your blood. If you have a high total cholesterol level, this is a risk factor for future health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. But the ratio of how much HDL you have compared to total cholesterol is important too. This is called your total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio. You should aim for a high level of HDL cholesterol and a low level of LDL.

Symptoms

You may only find out that you have high cholesterol if you have a cholesterol test as part of a health check up, or if you develop symptoms of heart disease. Sometimes, yellow patches (called xanthomas) may develop around your eyes or elsewhere on your skin – these are cholesterol deposits and may show that you have high cholesterol. Your cholesterol level is measured with a blood test. Usually you will be asked not to eat

for 12 hours before the test so that your food is completely digested and doesn't affect the result. Your doctor or nurse may take a blood sample using either a needle and syringe, or a finger prick. You can have your cholesterol tested at your doctor’s surgery, at hospital, or as part of a health assessment examination.

Causes of high cholesterol include: • having a diet high in saturated fat • a lack of exercise • being obese (having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more) • drinking more than the recommended daily amount of alcohol (this increases the level of stored fat in your blood) • smoking • age and gender – your cholesterol levels generally rise with increasing age and can be affected by your gender • High cholesterol can sometimes be caused by a condition that runs in your family called familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). In the UK, about one in 500 people have this condition. It’s not caused by an unhealthy lifestyle but is passed through families by a faulty gene. • Other conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes, certain kidney and liver diseases and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may also cause your levels of cholesterol or triglycerides to be high. Some medicines such as the oral contraceptive pill, beta-blockers or steroids may also affect your blood lipid levels.

Treatment

High cholesterol can be controlled with a combination of diet, exercise and mediation. A diet low in saturated fats and fat in general is beneficial – sufferers may be advised to cut out sweets, biscuits, cakes, red meat, hard cheese, butter and sometimes eggs, prawns and offal (liver etc). It's also important to include plenty of fibre in your diet, especially soluble fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol – this is found in fruit, vegetables, beans and oats. Eating oily fish at least twice a week can also help. If you are overweight, losing excess body fat can lower your cholesterol – you can also keep your heart healthier with regular exercise and by stopping smoking, if applicable. If you already have cardiovascular disease or are at high risk of developing it in the next ten years, you may be prescribed medication to reduce your cholesterol. The main group of medicines for lowering cholesterol are called statins. These medicines work by reducing the production of cholesterol in your liver, but can have side-effects such as indigestion and muscle pains. If you have very high cholesterol, your GP may prescribe ezetimibe with statins. Your doctor can tell you more about these medicines and suggest the most suitable treatment for you.

IF YOU ARE AT ALL CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR OWN OR YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR GP WESTERN URGENT CARE OUT OF HOURS - 028 7186 5195 omaghtoday | 22


Four decades of Fergusons at Rural Bygones family fun day at Garvaghey

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Wallpaper and fabrics by Voyage, available at Home Décor Centre.

‘Matilda’ bedlinen set by Kirstie Allsopp, available at The Thread Mill.

Vintage-style bottle vase, Next.

Refresh your home for bright and breezy days with citrus shades and zingy botanicals…

Orchid bedlinen, Dunnes Stores.

PiP Studio large mixing bowl, available at Menary’s.

Plastic floral wine glass, Cath Kidston.

Bathing beauty!

Upholstered occasional chair, Marks and Spencer.

Beauty by mail Nothing makes us smile more than getting treats in the post…we’ve got the glossy mag subscription, we’ve tried the yummy snack boxes – so imagine our excitement when we discovered Birchbox! Luxe beauty samples delivered to our door each month for the bargain price of £10? Yes please! The boxes feature big brand names like Benefit, Korres, Molton Brown, Laura Mercier, Rodial…the list goes on – and there are some exciting designer collaborations to enjoy too. Visit www.birchbox.co.uk and enter NEW14 at the checkout to get free P&P on your first box!

Home or abroad, the number one most annoying thing about going to the beach is the sand. It gets everywhere, and sticks to everything, which means you end up taking half the beach home with you – but not any more! Lagu is the first ever beach towel designed to be 100% sand repellent and was developed in the Philippines to help tackle the problem of beach erosion. Its unique linen blend is highly absorbent, quick drying, free from allergens and stays fresher for longer, which means you can sunbathe in complete comfort throughout your holiday. The towels are available in six cute colours that roll up and fasten neatly for easy transportation – and a percentage of each sale also goes towards beach conservation in the Philippines. Available now from Classic Urbanwear.

Mid-Season Sale Now On! Occasional and casual wear you look good in... 33 Market St, Omagh, County Tyrone, BT78 1EE - Tel: 028 8224 1088

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Mummy Diaries Low maintenance

Camphill and Gillygooley on Showcase evening

Camphill Community (above) and Gillygooley Community Group were two of the acts taking part in the Showcase event in the Strule Arts Centre. The talent shows continue this Thursday and Friday nights.

WE went to a house party the other weekend. This is quite a rare occurrence in my life as a mother; house parties are something we used to attend back in our teens and early twenties, usually when some poor, unsuspecting parents had gone on holiday leaving their ‘responsible’ young adults at home with £50 for groceries and sundry expenses that was, of course, spent on vodka. Frighteningly, it turns out not that much has changed; swap the vodka for gin and you still get the same result – me dancing in the kitchen and then hugging the toilet bowl at 3am. Anyway, that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. One of the bits I can remember about the evening was a conversation not just about the dearth of social life post-children, but also how infrequently we get the chance to dress up, and how low maintenance we’ve become since having children. Pre-children I worked in an office and wore tailored trousers and jackets and – shock – even heels to work. Fast forward six years and now I’m a self-employed, work-at-home mummy whose ‘uniform’ consists mostly of jeans, Converse trainers and the remnants of last night’s dinner, on occasions. My wardrobe has to take me from school run to desk to meeting clients and back again and I’m sad to say I go for comfy and practical every time – no heels, few dresses, and definitely nothing that has to be dry cleaned. Pre-children I was a regular at my beautician; I got waxed and scrubbed, tanned and polished – I even had facials, for God’s sake. These days my beauty routine is…um…shall we say ‘much simpler’? I actually kept up with the waxing stuff right up until the first kid came along. Before the birth I dutifully went along and had the full works; bits waxed, toenails painted – didn’t want those midwives thinking I was some sort of slattern. Of course during the birth I wouldn’t have cared if my legs looked like King Kong’s. I know this is totally TMI but my hair removal routine these days mostly revolves around a disposable razor with the occasional visit to the beautician for some essential maintenance. I also trim my own fringe more often than I care to admit. It’s all I’ve got time for – and money for, since somebody under four feet tall is always needing new clothes or shoes or toys. The nearest thing I get to a facial these days is a baby wipe and a couple of cold tea bags on my ginormous dark circles and the closest I get to a French manicure is when I get Sudocrem stuck under my fingernails. If I do get round to painting my nails, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be chipped in a matter of hours thanks to the fact that no mother can go more than half an hour without needing to put her hands in water for one reason or another. I know not all mums are like me. I often wonder what it would be like to be ‘groomed’ – you know, saloncoloured hair, perfect nails, regular spray tans. I reckon you’d have to get up an hour earlier in the morning to have time – I tend to slap on a bit of makeup, drag my hair into a ponytail and run out the door. Sadly I’ve always been a low-maintenance kind of gal and if it’s a choice between sleep and looking flawless at the school gates, I know which one I’d go for, every time. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m away to stick a Bioré strip on my nose, in lieu of a facial…

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With Chloe Kerr

Let’s get tropical While the weather certainly isn’t tropical, fashion has taken a step to the sunny climes of Hawaii. From jungles and flamingos to botanical prints, we’ll soon be seeing an influx of all things tropical for spring. Once relegated to Hawaiian shirts, these bold, gaudy prints have been given a new lease of life for Spring 2014. This look has been all over the runway at the SS14 shows, namely by Raf Simons by Dior and Mary Katrantzou. These classic floral patterns have been introduced to different materials and shapes to create the latest S/S trend. Of course, the Hawaiian look can be a bit in your face, but there are plenty of ways to rock the trend without looking crazy! Team dark tropical prints with white culottes, or team a tropical print dress with a black blazer and a pair of heels for that off-duty model look. If you’re feeling a bit braver, rock some bright colours such as neon pink, tangerine or lime green. Either mix and match, or wear print on print for a more homogenous look. For an even more casual look, pair a floral top with a pear of jeans, or a floral kimono (to mix two trends) over a plain vest top and jeans. Very laid back cool. These bright colours can also be transferred over to the nail polish trends for spring. While in autumn the colours were quite muted, for spring think Lego bright colours! While last summer the trend was for neon nails, this summer primary colours and oranges take the stage. My favourite colour at the moment is Cool Blue from Maybelline New York Colour Show, and it’s only £2.99!

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Fintona’s Jade continues to make hair waves in UK FINTONA hairdresser Jade Gibson continues to make waves on the national hairdressing scene – most recently travelling to Manchester to take part in one of the biggest events on the industry calendar. Jade is only the second ever hairdresser from Ireland to have gained a place on the Fellowship of British Hairdressers’ ‘Project X’ – described as the ultimate hairdressing finishing school – and despite the demands of running her own salon, JHD, full time, has been making regular pilgrimages to London to take part in various workshops and shows over the past number of weeks. Last weekend Jade was in Manchester to work with Vogue model Kaily Lu and come up with her own take on the ‘Braided Warrior’ theme to be presented to some of the crème de la crème of the hair industry. She explains: “My model was Oriental, a hair type that is slightly more challenging to work with than European hair texture, but I'm always up for a challenge and love to try new things. I based my look on a Warrior Princess. I created a look that my Warrior Princess had just been in battle, so it was a slightly worn and dishevelled look to also keep it on trend with fashion now, which is more texturised and undone. “My model had an Alexander McQueen inspired dress by the fashion stylist Bernard Connelly. The look came together so powerfully. I made a headpiece for my model based on Dolce and Gabbana’s gold coin dress from this year’s SS14 collection. I had to go on stage and talk to the audience about how I achieved the look and where I drew my inspiration from. This was pretty nerve wracking, but the events co-ordinator, and ‘queen bee’ Ann Herman gave me a real confidence boost before I went on stage and I realised I'm going to have to leave these nerves backstage for the time I'm on stage and just go for it!” And she won’t have long to wait – Jade is back in London this weekend for a photoshoot with industry darling and 2013 hairdresser of the year, Tina Farey.


Aware night of Colour and Fashion

Aware committee members and organisers of the Colour and Fashion night pictured with Billy Dixon.

Well known personal and corporate image consultant Billy Dixon, who compered the AWARE Making Sense of Colour and Fashion fundraising event in Kelly's Inn, Garvaghey last Tuesday night pictured with Niamh, Aine and Marie Killoran.

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Social life in need of a boost? Your guide to what’s onMartin in Omagh district this fortnight... By Claire

must see!!

{What’s On?} Your at-a-glance guide to upcoming events

The Nose

Strule Arts Centre, April 10, 8pm, £13 Bruiser theatre Company return to Strule on April 10 with their hilarious take on Gogol’s ‘The Nose’, written by and starring long-term Bruiser collaborator, Patrick J O’Reilly. In this fresh new adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's classic short story, Alexei, a government bureaucrat, awakens one morning horrified to discover that his nose has run off! Join Alexei as he frantically tries to stop his runaway nose from causing him all manner of public humiliation and get back on his face! This adaptation preserves Gogol's whimsical and humorous writing style and pokes fun at the incompetence of 'the powers that be' and the superficial nature of society's 'respectable' classes. From the Company that brought you the hugely popular Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, this great new show will be fun, visually exciting and very funny! Tickets are selling fast! For more information on upcoming events visit www.struleartscentre.co.uk.

Arts in the Woods

An Creagan, 16-19 April, 12-3pm, free. Especially for primary school children, An Creagan introduces a whole week of fantastic workshops aimed at encouraging creative explorations using a combination of arts and storytelling. We will provide an atmosphere of adventure using traditional classroom teaching mixed with outdoor activities. Children must be supervised by a parent/guardian. All workshops are free but advance booking is essential. For more information Contact Martin on 028 807 61112 or email arts@ancreagan.com.

Miss NI Omagh heat Sally’s, April 13, 7pm, free

Calling all wannabe beauty queens! Sally’s is the venue for the tenth heat of the Open and Direct Insurance Miss Northern Ireland Contest 2014 . Everyone's welcome to come along and see local girl turned celeb Alison Clarke with her panel of judges including current Miss Northern Ireland Meagan Green, search for the next two finalists for this years contest, who will be crowned Miss Sallys and Miss Omagh! Get your glam on and make a night of it! omaghtoday | 28

3rd April Ceol Carmen resumes at the Patrician Hall, Carrickmore. All newcomers welcome; tin whistle, guitar and banjo classes for age 7 years to adult. We would particularly encourage the adults in our community no matter what age to come along and give it a try! Note there will be no class on Thursday 10th April and the last class for summer break will be Thursday 22 May. £3. 4th April Table Quiz, Country Club, Clanabogan, 9pm. With prizes and auction for a signed Tyrone shirt and all proceeds to Guide Dogs for The Blind. Everybody welcome, great night’s craic guaranteed. 5th April Big Shave for the mad Mohican boys in aid of Omagh Autism Society, the Village Inn, Killyclogher. 2-6th April “I’m The One For you” by the Glenelly Players, Cranagh Hall, Plumbridge , 7-9pm, £8. 6th April Omagh Craft Fair in aid of the Children’s Hospice, Killadeas. Killyclogher Hall, 11.30am-5pm, free. 6th April Bundoran to Sallys’ Run, Omagh Wheelers. Registration for this event will take place every Sunday at the club training cycle from 9am. The cost of this year’s cycle is £20 which includes £10 to The John McGirr fund and transport to Bundoran. 6th April Jean’s Country Music Store – Maeve Farrell visiting, everyone welcome. 12th April Strictly Kids Dancing, Mellon Country Hotel. Watch nine junior teams dance their way to victory! Doors open 6.45pm. All proceeds to Care for Cancer. 12th April Musical Stars Charity Craft Fair, CKS Community Centre, 2pm to 4pm. 12th April Omagh Integrated Primary School Easter Eggstravaganza, 2pm to 4pm 12th April The Tom Cooper Joe Dolan Tribute Show, Armagh City Hotel. Tickets available in Jean’s Country Music Store, Omagh 13th April Mountfield Vintage Rally . Anyone wanting to participate is very welcome 19th April – Beragh Red Knights, 5 mile/5k race, St Mary’s Football Field. Proceeds in aid of Care for Cancer. Race starts at 12 noon, 20th April – Drumquin Cycling Club Easter Sunday Leisure Cycle. Leaving from Drumquin Social Centre; 35miles or 50 miles. Registration from 9am to 10am. Cycle begins at 10am. £10 per person or £15 family.


LET US ENTERTAIN YOU AT STRULE Looking for a great night out - then look no further this week than your very own Strule Arts Centre. After a hugely successful first week of the Community Showcase, the second week of performances takes place on Thursday 03 April and Friday 04 April at 8pm. The two nights will feature seven talented local community groups including dance, music and drama! Now in its seventh year, the Community Showcase has grown in its popularity and diversity to become one of the most celebrated events in the Community calendar. Tickets are £7/ Con £5. On Saturday 5 April at 8pm Eddi Reader comes to Strule Arts Centre. Her rare blend of meltingly true vocals and towering romanticism combine with an astute and pragmatic nature to make her a unique and powerful figure in contemporary British music. She has effortlessly developed into one of popular music’s most thrilling and affecting performers. Tickets are £20/ Con £18. Also taking to the stage in April is The Nose by Gogal on Thursday 10 April at 8pm. Bruiser is back on the road with this hilarious comedy that shines a merciless light on the murky world of bureaucracy, written and starring long-term Bruiser collaborator Patrick J.

O'Reilly. Tickets are on sale at £13/ Con £7 and are selling fast. On Friday 11 April at 8pm The Legend of Luke Kelly Dubliner Show is on stage at Strule Arts Centre. Dublin singer/songwriter/multiinstrumentalist Chris Kavanagh, has been singing Irish folk songs since he was three. Chris bears a remarkable resemblance to Luke and his singing talents capture his depth and passion. This 30th anniversary show, sees Chris joined on stage by other accomplished musicians who all consider it an honour to bring Luke's memory to the stage. Tickets are on sale at £17.50/ Con £15. Coming to Strule Arts Centre on Thursday 24 and Friday 25 April at 8pm is ‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’ presented by St. Dympna’s Drama Society Dromore. Recognised as one of the best loved plays on the Irish stage, it is based on a therapy session where a group of disparate individuals gather for "therapy", some for the first time and others who make a hobby out it. A good night's entertainment is guaranteed! Tickets are on sale at £9. Add to this our most varied programme of exhibitions, films, workshops and classes you are sure to find something for all tastes!

UPCOMING EVENTS 03 Apr - 17 Apr 2014

Performances Thursday 03 & Friday 04 April @ 8pm £7/ £5 Con Strule Arts Centre Presents Community Showcase Dramatize Youth Theatre Group CKS Strathroy Youth Club Skyzdalimit Carrickmore Youth Club EYE Speak MACCA Eddi Reader David Hull Promotions Saturday 05 April @ 8pm £20/ Con £18 The Nose by Gogal Bruiser Theatre Company Thursday 10 April @ 8pm £13/ Con £7 The Legend of Luke Kelly Dubliner Show Michael Hynes presents Friday 11 April @ 8pm £17.50/ Con £15

3 April 3 April 3 April 4 April 4 April 4 April 4 April

‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’ St.Dympna’s Drama Society (Dromore) Thursday 24 and Friday 25 April @ 8pm £9 Gallery Arts and Disability Forum present ‘Selected’ Exhibition Saturday 05 - Wednesday 30 April @ 10am - 5.30pm Workshops Easter Workshop with Frances Sweeney Friday 11 April @ 4pm - 6pm Age: 5-10 years £12 Easter Flower Arranging Workshop with Dobbins Flowers (Omagh) Saturday 12 April @ 10am - 4pm £40 Films The Princess and The Frog Saturday 19 April @ 11.30am Tickets £3 / Special Family Ticket: 1 Adult and 3 Children £10

Box Office: 028 8224 7831 or Book Online: www.struleartscentre.co.uk

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We welcome your submissions for our short story section and we will try to publish as many as we can. Send your stories by email to claire@omaghtoday.com

SHORT STORIES

K

athleen was lonely. True, she had her wee boy Michael, aged five, beside her all day and night - but it was the remoteness of the place in which she was living which she could not handle. Kathleen had been brought up in a little village, Dergmount, 20 miles away; but it could have been a thousand miles as far as she was concerned. Her husband Joe had worked on his family's farm near her village after they were married, but money was scarce then in the years immediately after the second World War, and when Joe decided to get a steady job with a guaranteed income, she could not stand in his way. The job he got was as a keeper in the Lunatic Asylum in the big town, but Joe also wanted to continue with a bit of farming so he rented a house about five mile from the town which had lots of adjoining outhouses for pigs and poultry. The house itself was basic; one living room with open hearth, one bedroom, no running water or power; lighting was by tilley lamp, cooking was done over the hearth, washing in a crockery basin. That was the norm in little cotter houses and Kathleen had no qualms in that respect. The location of the house was idyllic, set on top of one side of a valley which plunged steeply from the front of the house down through a wood to a meadow, with a burn meandering sleepily along; a little footbridge traversed the burn before the far side of the valley rose sharply with a little path which led to a minor road, leading to the nearest village of Knockmullan two miles away. Access to Kathleen's home was by a half mile lane at the back of the house, which led to another minor road, just one of a maze of such roads which would eventually reach a main road. That was the route Kathleen took every weekend to catch a bus home to visit her mother, walking for an hour before

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Barney

by Pat McGlinchey crossing the big railway bridge for a shortcut. That was a frightening trip, edging along the narrow walkway at the side of the bridge, clasping Michael tightly to keep him away from the single bar railing which was the only protection from the drop to the raging river below, whilst at the same time glancing furtively over her shoulder in dread of an oncoming train which would blow them off the bridge, or suck them under the wheels. It did happen one stormy day when the wind drowned out the sound of the train, but Kathleen grabbed Michael into her arms and ran praying loudly 'God protect us' just reaching the end of the bridge and throwing herself and her child onto the grass verge as the huge steam train thundered by. For a girl who was used to the company of family and neighbours, Kathleen was isolated; just her daily chores of housework and looking after the pigs and poultry to keep her occupied. The grocery van stopped at the head of her lane once a week, and she would exchange a basket of eggs for some of her weekly provisions. One such day she became aware that someone was watching her on her way up the lane. There was a high thick hedge on either side but she could detect a figure moving almost in step with her behind the hedge. In the days that followed, she noticed a figure flitting around behind her barn and in the field behind the house, a man with a bill-hook over his shoulder. Joe was on night duty, and at night Kathleen could hear footsteps on the cinders outside her front door. One night she heard the sound of the latch being tried but she had the door bolted from within. She called out “Who's there?” but again the only sound was the crunching

of the cinders. She was becoming increasingly frightened so one day she relayed her fears to Joe, asking who this mystery man might be. 'Agh, that would be Barney Malone,' he said. 'He's back living in that wee tin roofed house near the top of our lane but he has been in the Asylum most of his life. Don't worry about him, he's very backward but he's a harmless creathur.’ This was little consolation to Kathleen in the weeks that followed. She was always aware that Barney was never too far away and on occasions when she was going along the back road over to the McCaslan house, a pair of old bachelor farmers for whom she would sometimes make the dinner if they had men working, she would come across Barney outside his own house. As if taken unaware he would invariably disappear around the side, making no effort to reply to her tentative ‘hello���. As always he would be carrying a bill-hook. There was no house with a woman for two miles; any of the few houses occupied in the townland were occupied by old bachelors, so a young woman like Kathleen was a rarity, which was welcome to most of the men. But Barney was different. He seemed dark, moody, brooding, and in Kathleen's mind a danger for her and her child. Kathleen's only form of entertainment was a weekly whist drive in the village hall at Knockmullan, to which she would set off with Michael by the hand for the two miles walk early in the evening. Down through the wood, across the meadow and footbridge over the burn, up the other side of the valley to the far road, and then a brisk walk to the village where she would visit a local woman Brigid McGinn for a chat and her tea before the


whist. It was the coming home in the dark she dreaded. She had a little flash-lamp which gave some light to their walk, but on this particular night she did not need it, so bright was the full moon. This was the worst bit, when she had to leave the tarred road for the narrow lane, and then the slippery path at the top of the spink leading down to the footbridge. She had left the tilley lamp burning in the house, a comforting sight at the far side of the valley. Young Michael could sense that his mother was shivering as they came to the top of the spink, high above the burn below which was in flood tonight as it rushed from the meadow back into the woods. Suddenly his mother stopped, let go of his hand and whispered: “Stand here a minute pet, and don't move an inch.” Then she turned and ran back along the path shouting: “Who's there? Don't think I can't hear you. I’m going to shout for Joe, he's over in the house”. This was of course a lie, but suddenly Michael heard a muffled shout in a man's gruff voice, followed by what sounded by dry twigs snapping and breaking. Almost immediately Michael was joined again by his mother, who grabbed his hand and panted: “Run pet, we have to get home quickly.” Kathleen did not undress that night and nor did Michael. Instead she gathered up some clothes for her and the boy and crammed them into her suitcase, then sat by the fire until she heard the welcome sound of Joe's little Morris 8 car rattling into the yard. She unlocked the door and threw her arms around her tired but shocked husband and then blurted: “Joe, I can't stay here another night. You're going to find us another house, with neighbours, nearer to everything such as school and Church. Michael is due to

start next week but it's too far for him to walk every day especially in winter.” Joe sat down to collect his thoughts. “Aye, Kathleen I know what you’re saying. I'll start asking around - but where are you going?” he asked sadly. “I'm thinking I'll go back to Mammy's in Castlemount; maybe get my wee job back for a while in the village shop and I might enrol Michael in the school there until you get us something. We'll head on now and get the bus and the connection to Castlemount.” “Naw, I'll take you there in the car. I don't want you to go but you've made your mind up so make us a drop of tay and then we'll go,” said Joe as he sat down and stared glumly at the turf fire, knowing it would be the last tay Kathleen would make in this house. For the next three months Kathleen did as she said she would, got her job back, enrolled Michael in school and enjoyed the company of her mother, her brothers and sisters and all her old friends. Joe came weekly on his days off, giving her money and going on to stay the night with his own father. Then the week before Christmas Joe arrived, came in and sat down. “What about a drop of tay Kathleen? I've some good news for you. I've got us a house, a far better one with a big living room with a range and gas-lighting, a big bedroom with two wee off shoots, a big box-room, plenty of outhouses, a good garden and orchard. It’s on the side on the road leading to the main road about a halfmile to the bus-stop in one direction and a half-mile to Knockmullan on the other. “Mrs Cooke's house and shop is beside it and she said she could have a bit of work for you in the shop and about the house. She has big piggeries which she will rent to me as well.” Joe was almost

out of breath, so he stopped to wait for a reaction and when it came his dreams were answered. Kathleen ran across the floor, wrapped her arms around him, kissed him all over his face and cried: “Aw Joe, you're such a good man. We can be in for Christmas.” “Aye,” said Joe, “I have already moved the furniture but because it's a bigger house we'll have to get some more, but I have the money saved. Look, you go and make whatever arrangements you have to with your job and Michael's school, I'll head up to my father's for the night and I'll collect youse and take you to your new home in the morning.” He bent down and kissed his wife gently on the lips, and turned towards the door, then stopped and looked around “Oh, I don't suppose you heard about poor Barney Malone? He was buried yesterday. “No one had seen him for three months but that wasn't unusual with Barney. He could get moody and take to the bed for weeks. But last weekend young Bertie McFarland was gathering sheep along the bank of the burn when he saw something caught under a branch in the big pool at the foot of the spink. It turned out to be Barney. They don't know how long he was in the water but the vermin didn't leave much of him. They say he might have slipped off the path and rolled down through the wood, or maybe he went into the pool himself. A lot of our ones do, especially at the new moon. Anyway he's buried now. Poor oul' Barney, he was a harmless creathur.” Joe waved and left. Kathleen stood with her hand to her mouth, then uttered weakly: “Oh God, oh God. Have mercy on his soul.” Then she went to the bedroom, lay down on the bed and wept uncontrollably, until she fell asleep with Joe's words tearing her brain. ‘Barney was a harmless creathur’.

Cobwebs welcomed in Eskra

There was much hilarity in Eskra Community Centre recently for the Eskra players production of the tale of a greyhound and the fun that ensues among the humans who surround it.

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Ecclesville warms up for Spring Jamboree By paddy hunter

The princess of new Irish Country Lisa McHugh will join Jimmy Buckley and Derek Ryan as the headline acts for the next Jamboree in the Park at the Ecclesville Centre in Fintona. The weekend of May 2-4 will once again see thousands converge on the Tyrone venue which has certainly become a mecca for country music fans - and they will not be disappointed. Apart from the three headline acts, the Spring Jamboree will also offer several up and coming artistes one massive stage to perform at this premier music event. Young John Garrity, Jim Devine, Trevor Loughrey and Ritchie Remo will strut their stuff with the likes of Johnny Brady and Mike Denver. Organiser Andrew Short of AJS Promotions is delighted with the response of country fans, many of whom have already snapped up the VIP tickets for the entire weekend. He said: "It has been great so far and music fans from all over the country will be in for a real threat over the May holiday weekend. We have secured some of the best in country music at the minute and I am delighted that we will also see some of the newer faces on stage too over the three nights." The show opens on Friday, May 2 with Jonny Garrity and Jim Devine warming up the crowd for a man who needs no introduction - Jimmy Buckley. Buckley has a new greatest hits album about to hit the shelves and over the years of touring he has certainly not lost his appetite for the business, comfortable in the concert setting or the massive dance scene at the Ecclesville. Saturday night is one that will certainly be sold out - the superb Johnny Brady, Mike Denver and the man of the moment, Derek Ryan, take to the stage in a line-up that has tickets flying out the door already. "These are big names in the business and we have been inundated with inquiries and sales - my advice would be get your tickets as soon as possible!" said Andrew. And if the ladies will have a thrill on Saturday then the fellas will be delighted to see - and of course hear - the beautiful Lisa McHugh on the Sunday. It promises to be a memorable night with one of the new and exciting singers and bands on the circuit, Ritchie Remo, joining the big man with the black hat Trevor Loughrey from the north west. Tickets for all the shows are now available and the advice is to snap yours up before they’re gone. One proviso however; it’s over 18s only. We are spoilt locally to have such a great venue and such a great promoter bringing the cream of the crop to our doorsteps. Having

been round the UK and Ireland at similar events over the years, the quality of performers, the shows, the sound and lights and the layout of the Ecclesville will not be surpassed. It should certainly be supported and of course it’s a great boost for the local economy as hundreds of travelling music fans will be seeking out places to stay for the weekend.

DK off to UK

For fans of Dominic Kirwan the news is good; the Omagh man has wrapped up his Irish tour marking his 25th anniversary of being in the business, but it won’t be the last we hear of our Dom. With his new look band and show Dominic will take to the roads of the UK for a couple of months before bringing a very special summer show to several Irish resorts, and of course the Silverbirch Hotel where thousands of his legions of fans will converge on Omagh for the very special DK weekend in July. Colm Kirwan will join his father for the summer shows in Portrush, Newcastle and Bundoran and tickets for the shows, which will also feature Irish dancers, comedy and some very special guests, are on sale now. Colm incidentally is still in Nashville and is writing songs and performing all over the US. The boy’s doin good...the oul’ fella will also be in Glasgow in September, back at the Pavillion Theatre with special guest Philomena Begley for a celebratory show.

Bluegrass Ray launches new CD

Drumquin’s favourite country music son, Bluegrass Ray, is preparing for the launch of a new 6-track CD and we have it on good authority that it’s going to be a good ‘un! Ray’s music career started off in the 1960s during the showband era, when he was a drummer with the six-piece band known as New City Sounds. In recent years, Ray has gone solo adding the Jew’s harp, accordion and tambourine to his musical repertoire. A regular guest of Hugo Duncan both on radio and at outside broadcasts, fans of his music won’t have long to wait – hotfoot it to Jean’s Country Music store to get your copy!

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Peter Mullin still truckin' @ 70

Birthday boy Peter Mullin with his Mrs Carmel at his 70th birthday bash in the Charm Inn, Carrickmore on Saturday night. 2015 will also mark a special celebration when Peter and Carmel celebrate there ruby wedding.

Peter with Carmel, son Colin, daughters Grace and Kerry, their spouces Michelle Mullin, John Bradley and grandchildren Peadar Mullin and Ava Mullin. Missing is Evie Rose Bradley.

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John Taggart entertains St. Colmcille's ladies

Mad March Hair day at Dunmullan

Dunmullan PS teacher Mrs Tandon Jessica Baxter, Claire Hughes, Ethan Lindsay and Jody Elliott. with Olivia McCrea.

Dunmullan pupils taking part in the March Hair Day in aid of Diabetes UK. omaghtoday | 34

Christopher Weir, Eve Duff and Marcus Baxter.

Samantha Ballantine joining in with the Dunmullan pupils for their March Hair day.


New adventure awaits as Rita goes down under THE internet and technology in general have made the world smaller than ever – a fact that communications guru Rita McCullagh is hoping to take advantage of when she leaves family, friends and her job at the Western Trust behind to start a new life in Australia this month! Rita, who is also heavily involved with public relations at the Patrician Hall in her home town of Carrickmore, has worked in the communications department of the Western Trust since 2008, but this is just one aspect of what has been a pretty varied career so far for the 32-year-old, who jets off to Melbourne in a couple of weeks’ time. After graduating with a degree in Politics, Rita spent time working in PR for high street chain LK Bennett in Jersey, before undertaking a Masters degree in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations. After this she completed an internship at Stratagem in Belfast, before landing her first job at Inform Communications in Belfast where she worked on large accounts including Belleek Living. Rita’s next step on the career ladder was with a Dublin-based organization called Mission Cara – a charity set up as an administrative and support agency for a number of Irish charities and also professional individuals doing charity work abroad, from missionaries to medics. Her main role here was focused on the branding of the charity and Rita was proud to be on hand when two years of her hard work was officially launched by the then Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern – but it was as part of this post that Rita also first developed her love of travel. During her time with Mission Cara she was fortunate enough to visit many incredible places including South Africa, Chile, and Peru on media trips, working with some of the world’s most eminent Irish journalists and press photographers and gaining a first hand insight into the ethical and moral reasons that drive many professionals from this country to dedicate their skills and services to helping some of the world’s most disadvantaged people. In spite of all her travels, however, Rita couldn’t resist applying when a job came up close to home, and she left Dublin for Omagh and a post within the communications team at the Western Trust – a challenging role that combined Rita’s love of breaking news

with her passion for community and social projects. But being close to home didn’t tame Rita’s wanderlust, and a few years ago she approached her bosses about the possibility of taking a career break. They were supportive of the notion that she might do an exchange, working within health communications in Australia and then bringing some of the skills she learned back to Northern Ireland – and after emailing tons of health providers in Oz (even the Flying Doctors!) she was lucky to be offered a position working for the Australian government in Canberra. On her way out, Rita arranged to travel with friends as far as Beijing before taking in the sights and sounds of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand en route to Australia. During these adventures she was fortunate to meet many different people of all ages and from various walks of life – one of whom was a young man named Kyle, from Tasmania. The pair hit it off and stayed in touch after Rita got settled and started her job in Canberra, and when Rita decided to extend her 6 month working visa for a further six months, Kyle moved to join her in the city. The pair then returned to Northern Ireland together, taking in New Zealand and Fiji on the way, and Kyle has been living in Northern Ireland for the past two years. “He loves it here,” Rita explains, “and he’s made loads of friends through playing Aussie rules football for the Belfast Redbacks. He would stay here but the next logical step for him career-wise is to do a PGCE and it’s nearly impossible to get in to do it here, so the likelihood is we would have had to move to England. So we have made the big decision to return to Australia – Kyle is already over there and I’m leaving at Easter. “It’s going to be really difficult leaving friends and family – I’ve lived all over the place really since I was 18 with going off to uni, and working in Dublin, and going travelling – but this last few years I have been living in Omagh and I’ve got really involved with my own home community in Carrickmore through my work with the Patrician. They advertised for people to help out with running the Hall and I went along to a meeting – I thought it would be nice to use my everyday skills in a non-work setting, and I’ve got so much out of it. It’s helped me feel really connected to my own community and I will really miss it – I keep joking that I will be attending the monthly meetings via Skype!” she laughs.

Omagh Floral Arts

Ronan Kerr award for bomb survivor Claire

Omagh Floral Art Society recently presented £150 each to Age NI and St. Vincent De Paul. Pictured are Roslyn Cole, Age NI, Violet Little, Milton Porter and Eleanor Heatherington, Omagh Floral Art Society and Tony Brogan, St. Vincent De Paul.

CLAIRE Bowes, who lost her sight in the 1998 Omagh bomb but has gone on to achieve her dreams of getting married, having a family and starting her own business teaching music, was the third recipient of the Spirit of Ronan Kerr award following the Omagh Half Marathon on Saturday. Nuala Kerr and Fr. John Skinnaider The award is offered presents the Spirit of Ronan Kerr annually by the family Award to Claire Bowes. of Ronan, who died when a booby trap bomb exploded under his car on the day of the marathon in 2011, to a person who they feel encapsulates Ronan’s zest for life. omaghtoday | 35


Lislimnaghan host senior citizen party

Left: Piper Robert McCutcheon with Liz Fitzgerald, and Frances and Jean Baxter who were part of the kitchen team at the recent senior citizens' dinner party in Lislimnaghan Hall. Right: Members of the talented Strule River String Band who entertained the party.

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Paradise Squares Ingredients

For the base 160g / 6ozs plain flour 125g / 5ozs butter 50g / 2ozs caster sugar Rub the butter and flour together to form a fine crumb. Add the sugar. Place the crumbed mixture into a foil baking tray or an 8x6 baking tray, press the mixture tight into the tray and bake at 160C (gas mark 3) for approximately 20 minutes until a light golden brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. When cool spread the base with a good covering of jam and sprinkle over some sultanas and cherries (optional) and set aside whilst you prepare your topping.

Another old time favourite again this week as we continue the traybakes theme. The paradise square a traditional Scottish recipe that uses cake crumb, ideal if you have a cake that is getting near its end time - in saying that if any house is like mine, cakes don't last that long! This is also baked in the same type of tray as the previous recipes for millionaire shortbread and cornflake squares.

Sample Gerry's fayre at The Melting Pot, Omagh Enterprise Company Restaurant

For the topping 6ozs / 150g butter 6ozs / 150g sugar 6ozs / 150g cake crumbs 2 large eggs In a bowl mix the margarine and sugar together until combined, then add the cake crumb and eggs and beat vigorously until pale and very light in texture. Spread over the base that has been spread with jam and sultanas. If you wish, you can add some nuts to the cake batter to improve the flavour - again this is optional. Bake for 30/35 minutes at 350F / 175C / Gas Mark 4. When you remove from the oven sprinkle the top with some caster sugar, leave to cool in the tray, then cut into individual squares. Going back to the millionaire shortbread and in particular the topping, I have come across a lovely chocolate product in Western Catering called Callebaut, this is a Belgian chocolate and is the perfect match for the millionaire shortbread. It is more expensive than ordinary cooking chocolate but the flavour is second to none. It comes in 2.5kg bags, and is also nice mixed 50/50 with ordinary cooking chocolate. Happy baking folks!

‘Vintage’ cyclists tackle Mizen-Malin for two local causes THE Antiques Roadshow will be travelling from Mizen Head in Co Cork to Malin Head, Co Donegal this June – but there won’t be a clock or piece of old jewellery in sight! This particular ‘antiques roadshow’ takes the form of thirteen intrepid local cyclists – all of them over the age of 50 – who are undertaking a gruelling fourday, 400 mile cycle journey to raise money for two good causes close to their hearts. Jimmy Carrigan, Sean Collins, Les Graham, Cathal Gormley, Des Eastwood, Philip Eccles, Davy Edgar, Ben Monaghan, Liam McDermott, Ciaran McElroy, Kevin McStay, Malachy Treanor, Fintan Treanor and Brendan Turbitt are all self-confessed ‘Sunday cyclists’ and while a number of them are affiliated to local cycling clubs, none have ever attempted a challenge on this scale. Davy Edgar explains that the friends had all been talking

individually about doing some form of charity cycle, so it made sense for them to come together in order to raise the best possible amount of money for their two chosen beneficiaries – namely the Alzheimer’s Society, and Ward 5 (Palliative Care) at Tyrone County Hospital. The men will travel to Cork on June 11 in preparation for their long journey all the way to the very top of Ireland, which will see them travelling an average of 100 miles per day, accompanied by an entourage of three support staff to help with essential maintenance on the bikes, rest stops and also first aid should it be required! They’re really hoping to raise a good amount of money for their chosen causes, each of which has personal significance for individual members of the group. To sponsor them, contact Davy on 07841 900196 or email Dededgar7@googlemail.com. omaghtoday | 37


W

ell hello there, and how are ye's all doin? The clocks have gone forward, the days are lengthenin and thoughts turn to Easter and warmer days. What’s happenin I hear you say, and what’s the news and scandal? Well at the risk of soundin like a broken record it looks like the Oasis Project is back on track. For the uninitiated I'm not talkin about Noel and Liam Gallagher getting back together and reforming the band that brought us ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don't Look Back in Anger’ - no, no, no - I mean the bridge to the back market and the overslabbing of the car park at Drumragh Avenue. After many, many years Omagh will get a development that will compliment the river and a recreational space bang in the centre of town. Somewhere to wander and meet people when the weather gets warmer. The leisure centre is nearly finished and I am sure the good people of Omagh and District will be delighted when it reopens. I remember when the original centre opened in 1982 and how it benefited everyone, and introduced a community to sport and recreation. The council’s vision for the next 30 years is their investment in the next generation. Old Barnes has been looking down on wee Omey for thousands of years and marvelled at many changes in culture and attitudes to things but one thing that has transformed society in the 20 and 21st century is the coffee shop culture. What are ye on about, I hear you say - well 35 years ago coffee was something of an afterthought if ye were out anywhere although the 'milky coffee' in the Royal Arms has been writtten into the annals of the history of Omagh. People still are heard to say 'boys wasn't the coffee in the Arms always lovely' and I dare say you could have got a coffee in the Cafe Rex years ago although again the annals of history will cite sausage and chips with vinegar and proper Orange Fanta bottles with straws as the bywords for this famous Omagh

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establishment. But look around you today and there has been a veratible explosion in coffee shops; I count seven between Anderson’s Corner and the junction of Bridge Street and another seven or eight if you count Dunnes Stores and the Arts Centre.

Frappacino, skinny latte and Americano - all words that roll off the tongue now, although the guy who reportedly christened a cappuccino a 'Robert de Niro' got a strange look from the other side of the counter. Confused? He certainly was cuz he couldn't mind the name of the coffee but minded it sounded like Al Pacino, and then got the actor totally wrong! I know - strange but true. So if I may indulge you, perhaps you should make an espresso before you continue reading and courtesy of thon internet thing I will recount some interesting facts about this now favourite beverage: It was once considered so precious by the Arabs that its export out of Muslim countries was forbidden under sentence of death. Pope Clement VIII's Cardinals christened it 'The Devil’s Brew' but the Pope, on tasting it, blessed the coffee stating it was too delicious for only the infidels to have exclusive use of it. Since then, Italy has become home to the world's greatest master blenders, brewers and coffee machine makers. Another legend says the first name for coffee was ‘mocha’. An Arab was banished to the desert with his followers to die of starvation.

In desperation, he and his friends boiled and ate the fruit from this unknown plant. Not only did the brew save them, but their survival was taken as a religious sign by residents of the nearby town, Mocha. In 1901 the first soluble ‘instant’ coffee was invented by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. Today, coffee is a giant global industry employing more than 20 million people. With over 400 billion cups consumed every year, coffee is the world's most popular beverage. In Brazil alone, over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of over 3 billion coffee plants. Sales of premium speciality coffees in the United States have reached the multi billion dollar level, and are increasing significantly on an annual basis. On the subject of coffee and with St Patrick’s Day just passed, did ye's know the original Irish coffee was invented and named by Joe Sheridan, a head chef in Foynes Airport, County Limerick and that he was originally from Castlederg?! A group of American passengers disembarked from a Pan Am flying on a miserable winter evening in the 1940s. Sheridan added whiskey to the coffee to warm the passengers. Afterwards the passengers asked if they were being served Brazilian coffee, and Sheridan told them it was ‘Irish coffee’. True I tell you - or else Wikipedia has got it terribly wrong. I think I have kept you long enough but finally to the lady (ironically from the birthplace of Sheridan) who asked 'do you want caul whather in that?' after handing a cup of Mellow Birds powder mixed with boiled water to a more than amazed customer, I say 'wake up and smell the coffee!' I jest of course - perhaps the revolution in coffee still has a way to go in some quarters of this wee country of ours! Enjoy Easter, and the first proper holidays since Christmas. Regards,

Barnes of the Gap


Nashville visitors in Broderick’s

Nashville's Carla Emmitt, third from left, with Vera McCain, Howard Ray, from Nashville being introduced to Omagh hospitality Noelle Breen, Eileen McGee, Audrie Breen and Irene Ewing relax by Fred Breen, John McGee and Ross McCain in Broderick's last in Broderick's on Saturday night. Carla was visiting Omagh after Saturday night. meeting some of the Omagh ladies in Nashville recently.

Above: Nuala Donnelly, Elaine Fox and Aisling Donnelly. Right: The Young clan sing along with Jeff Peace in Broderick's last Saturday night.

Above: Andrew Gallagher, Conor Donnelly and Enda Donnelly.

Jack Droogan celebrates his fiftieth Jack Droogan who celebrated his 50th with friends in the INF on Saturday night pictured , left, with his wife Karen. Below are some friends who joined in the party.

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around the

community Our fortnightly look at what’s happening in your local community

Up-and-coming comedian Aaron needs your votes! OMAGH student Aaron McCann is appealing for your votes in a nationwide competition aimed at finding the next big thing in comedy. Aaron made his official comedy debut when he was just a schoolboy and was asked to co-host the annual awards at his school formal – he was bitten by the bug there and then and keeping the mantra ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ close at hand, he’s made it his mission to pursue a career on stage. Despite having no material prepared before accepting the slot and appearing alongside one of his most revered NI comics, Colin Geddis (I Am Fighter), Aaron did his first proper stand-up slot at Daly’s Comedy Club two years ago. “The nerves got to me badly - everything from entering the place to meeting Colin in person scared me, but as soon as the MC

called my name I literally felt like I could have exploded! When I went on stage my nerves were clearly showing, I was shaking and everything but when I got that first big laugh, I just remember how good it felt. Since then I have gigged around Northern Ireland and Dublin and even went to the Edinburgh Fringe last year.” Aaron entered the Chortle Awards earlier this year and having survived the Belfast heat it’s now down to the People’s Choice as to who goes through to the next stage for a chance to win a competition that has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in

stand-up. To vote, visit www.chortle.co.uk and click the link on the right of your screen, then make your way to the Belfast heats and vote for Aaron.

Omagh gets crafty for Children’s Hospice AN array of gorgeous local crafts will be on offer at Killyclogher Hall on Sunday, April 6 when it plays host to a fundraiser organized by local volunteer Judith Rutledge in aid of the Horizon West Children’s Hospice, Killadeas. From jewellery to homewares, scarves to baked goods there will be something to tickle everyone’s fancy. Entrance to the fair is free, but donations to Horizon West Children’s Hospice are very welcome. All funds raised will go towards helping children and their families from Tyrone and Fermanagh. Gemma McCallan, Community Fundraiser for the Children’s Hospice said: “This is a fantastic event which has been organised with the help of Omagh volunteer Judith Rutledge. The Craft Fair is a wonderful celebration of local businesses, crafts people and bakers, as well as an enjoyable social event for the people of

Omagh. “The money raised will go a long way to provide care and support for children, young people and their families living with a terminal illness in the Tyrone area. The Children’s Hospice in Killadeas is a local facility which cares for these children and it currently compliments the existing community based service we currently provide in Omagh and surrounding areas.” This promises to be an enjoyable event with indulgent gifts and treats for all. Everyone is welcome to come along and support a local charity and local businesses. If you would like to support the Horizon West Appeal or find out more about how you can help visit nihospice.org or call local fundraiser Gemma McCallan on 07711 377338 or email gemma. mccallan@nihospice.org.

Seskinore Young Farmers Club awards night

Seskinore Young Farmers club members at their recent parents and awards night. omaghtoday | 40

Peter Tierney, centre, Marie Curie Cancer Care receives a cheque for £2,500.00 from Jessica Domer, Henry Giles, Andrew Phair and Lynsay Hawkes, Seskinore Young Farmers club committee officials. The money was raised through their tractor run. The 2014 run is now being planned for 4th May.


Care for Cancer spring programme launched

Pre-War Austin Club cheque for Children’s Hospice William Todd, (Todd Insurances, Omagh), chairman of the Ulster Pre-War Austin Club along with vice-chairman Desmond Ballantine (Gortaclare), and secretary Ella McLoughlin (Lisburn) present a cheque for £1650 to Mrs Nessa O’Callaghan, representing the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, during a club meeting on Friday, March 7 in Hillsborough. The money was raised at an event held in the Omagh/Gortin area.

CARE for Cancer launched their brand new and exciting spring programme recently, on the same day that they unveiled the charity’s first ever newsletter. Packed with articles and information about the services on offer, the efforts of local fundraisers and also interviews with local people, the newsletter is available now in waiting rooms across the land! Meanwhile the Spring programme offers something for everyone and is open to both people with cancer and their carers – there’s a men’s support group, yoga and relaxation, knitting and crochet, flower arranging, Paverpol sculptures with Louise Crawford and a ‘Zest for Life’ course designed to help you think positively and get the most out of life. Call 8224 6599 for more info.

Friends raise funds for Ghana mission Friends Brigin McWilliams and Lauren Duddy pictured at a recent coffee morning which they hosted in Killyclogher Parish Hall on March 23. The event was one of a series of fundraisers the girls have organized to raise money for their forthcoming trip to Ghana, where they will volunteer with the charity ‘Thrive Africa’ for three weeks, and generated a fantastic £1,000. The girls would like to thank everyone who came along and made their coffee morning so successful – their next fundraiser is a threemile fun run and walk which will take place on Sunday, April 6, starting at the Ecclesville Centre, Fintona at 3pm. Registration on the day is £5 each or £10 per family.

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APRIL

On a flooding rebuild mission

Michael Cunningham, RecyCo, centre, one of the sponsors with Peter Dolan, Noel McGlinchey, Kieran McGinn, Seanie Meyler, Gary McGinn and Aidan O'Neill who will be joined by Don Campbell and Kevin McGlinchey on a mission to Cadalbi, a 3.5 hour drive from Bucharest, Romania where they will help rebuild twenty homes which were decimated by freak flooding last September. The eight brave volunteers will travel out with Habitat for Humanity on 18th May.

Bride to be Deborah McCoy, fourth from left, with her hens in the 'birches last Saturday night. omaghtoday | 41


Thousands take part in Omagh Marathon

Omagh District Council Chairman Martin McColgan joins in the warm-up at the start of the run.

Michael Ward, Omagh Half Marathon race director welcomes Gerry Keenan President of Northern Ireland Athletics, Phyllis and Tommy Welsh officials from NI Athletics and Race Commentator Dave McKibbin.

Mrs Nuala Kerr, mother of the late Ronan Kerr with Father John Skinnaider and other volunteers who collected funds for the South Sudan Project during this Year's Omagh Half Marathon.

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Men’s race winners 1st Ed McGlinchey 01.06.35; 2nd Gary Murray 01.08.14 and 3rd Gary O'Hanlon 01.08.41 are congratulated by Patrick Doody representing Hendersons Spar main race sponsors and Michael Ward, race director.

Omagh Harriers Chairman & Half Marathon race director Michael Ward with members of Omagh & District Down's Syndrome Support Group this year's main Charity.


Vera Woodhead celebrates her seventieth in the Hogs

Birthday girl Vera Woodhead with her Popular birthday girl Vera Woodhead who Birthday girl Vera Woodhead with sisters Marie and Gemma and brothers celebrated her 70th with a party in the Hogs grandchildren who attended her party in pictured with daughters Alison, Paula and Alison the Hogs. Martin and Noel. and sons Paul and Martin.

Making noise in TOTT for charity

Local alternative night promoters Turn it To Eleven presented a very special evening of entertainment at the Top of the Town on Friday night as they undertook their first ever charity gig, with proceeds going to Pancreatic Cancer UK. Music was provided by a series of up and coming bands including Axecatcher, Proxist and Taken by Vultures.

Do you have an upcoming event or story to tell? Contact claire@omaghtoday.com or tel. 077 2563 1646 or pat@omaghtoday.com or tel. 077 1284 0985 omaghtoday | 43


200th goal from Martin as Omagh Men clinch league title

OMAGH Men’s Hockey achieved a remarkable change of fortunes last weekend when they clinched the Junior 6 league title thanks to an impressive 5-2 away win at Campbellians – an incredible end to a season that nearly didn’t happen in the first place! In September, the club was forced to hold crisis talks over whether they would even enter a team due to dwindling numbers; but senior members rallied and a number of new players gave an injection of new blood that has proved to be just the tonic the side needed. Omagh travelled to Belfast knowing that a win, plus victory for Portadown who hosted Down, would hand them the league title even with two fixtures still to play. After 20 minutes Omagh took the lead after some great work down the left from Ally Forbes and Andy Young created a chance for Jimmy McCutcheon, who finished well through the goalkeeper's legs. Within two minutes Omagh doubled their lead when a fine solo run from Martin and subsequent pass found McCutcheon on the edge of the area, and five minutes before half time Omagh scored again with a goal from Mark Bates. Knowing that they had to remain focused

to ensure the three points, Omagh started the second half on the front foot. Bates made it 4 when he cooly lifted the ball over an advancing keeper after good work from Mackay. Captain Chris Martin added a fifth goal halfway through the second half when Bates crossed from the left and Martin controlled well to round the keeper. Martin first played for the Omagh men’s first team aged only 12 and scored his first goal that same year. He went on to become renowned within the club and indeed within the league (Senior 2) for his dangerous speed and accuracy – his strike last weekend was his 200th goal for Omagh and comes in his 20th year playing for the club. He said: "Before the season started we didn't think we would have enough players for a team but once we got going in that first match at Parkview we have not looked back. We found a few new players and they gave existing players the motivation to push on as a club. There has been a great team spirit throughout the season and the team ethic has led to this success. It is a real credit to all the players for their commitment over the season and winning the league is nothing more than this bunch of men deserve."

Sportive at CV Wheelers

Clogher Valley Wheelers recently presented a cheque for the proceeds from their annual Sportive event, which attracts cyclists from across Ireland, to the Niamh Louise Foundation - a charity which aims to reduce the number of people who take their own lives each year. Every year, the club selects a charity to receive a donation from the event as well as from donations received directly from members at its annual Christmas Dinner. www.cloghervalleywheelers.com The foundation provides an invaluable range of services including counselling and drop in facilities for people at risk. For more information on the work of the foundation or to avail of their services feel free to make contact via telephone on 028 8774 0354 or via email info@ niamhlouisefoundation.com.

Strule Valley Riding Club celebrates 17 years STRULE Valley Riding Club celebrated its 17th birthday recently with their Annual Combined Training Competition at the RDA, Arvalee, Omagh. The Club would like to thank all those who helped make the day a success, namely Ivor Russell and Alison Donnell for setting up the dressage arena; Myra Greeves, judging, Alison Donnell, scribe; Pearl Donnell, entries and refreshments; Lucinda Blakiston-Houston, Yvonne Chisholm and Kyle Hayes, call up/gate; Raymond Caldwell, course building and Jane Huey for taking on board the very important job of adding up the scores! Thanks to all others who helped put fences up and clear the arena at the end. Special thanks also to Sean Cooney from Botanica International Ltd for sponsoring the very generous prizes for the horse entries and to Ann Patterson from Omagh Equestrian & Countrywear for sponsoring the pony prizes. The Club would also like to thank Alison Monteith for presenting the RJ Monteith Perpetual Cup. Well done to all competitors for taking part & special congratulations to those who won their classes. Ruth Black &

her lovely grey Hee Haw Henry had a successful return to competing winning the Prelim 13 2006 dressage only class with sister Heather & Platinum Lily also making a return to competing taking 2nd place. Ann Regan & the brilliant Barnstormer were in their usual consistent form winning both the Prelim 13 2006 with jumping & also the Novice 26 2006 with jumping, and also took at RJ Alison Monteith presents Monteith Perpetual Cup. Erne Ann Regan with The RJ Lakeland Riding Club Chairperson Monteith Perpetual Cup at Maeve Lunny & the beautifully Strule Valley Riding Club’s schooled Millie were close behind, annual Combined Training in 2nd place in both classes. Competition, marking the Strule Valley Chairperson Lucinda club’s 17th anniversary. Blakiston-Houston & Elsie took 3rd place in both classes & Erne Lakeland Riding Club Secretary Mandy McQuade & Rosie were placed 4th. Young Ciara Owens & her lovely chestnut pony Minnie took the red rosette in the Pony Club D Level 1 Test class with friend Kamryn McQuaide & Blaze taking the blue rosette. Keep free Saturday 10th May – a working hunter competition is planned at Ecclesville, Fintona; an opportunity for a school out before Balmoral Show! Left: Omagh Today’s own Nicola Mulligan with Tobermory after they won their dressage class at Strule Valley Riding Club’s annual Combined Training Competition.

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Stevie Duncan steams ahead at Altamuskin

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Newtownstewart’s Brawl in the Hall

Terence Molloy and Kevin McSorley.

Nicola McMenamin and Sarah O'Brien

David Devine and Marty McMenamin

James McMenamin and Seamy Meenan. Kevin McLaughlin and Dessie Devine.

Barry O'Brien and Aidan McSorley after their contest.

Left: Sarah O'Brien and Nicola McMenamin with Newtownstewart and Tyrone's Paschal McConnell and Kevin Gallagher. Below: Liam Morris who acted as MC for the event with ring girl Laura Maye Below: Gerard McNamee, Chairman of Newtownstewart GAC presents Tony Gallagher with the 'Boxer of the night award'.

Kevin McLaughlin gets corner advice.

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David Devine gets some interval instructions


Tyrone to host post-match family fun at Healy Park this Sunday TYRONE fans will have a chance to meet their heroes on Sunday (6th) when the team host a special event immediately after the game against Dublin at Healy Park. Following the crunch game which will decide who qualifies for the National league semi-finals, there will be a ‘RedHandFan’ draw for the under-16s with a chance to win a family pass to Tayto Park plus five O’Neill footballs for their school. Additional family passes will also be drawn for a number of other children on the day – and as if that wasn’t enough, there will be a chance to meet all the players on the pitch after the game for a cool-down plus autographs, selfies and plenty of fun! The advice is to come early as a very large crowd is expected. Throw-in 3pm.

New 5K course on offer at Red Knights’ annual run

RUNNERS from across Ulster are preparing to converge on Mid Tyrone for what is set to be a hotly contested five mile road race. Hundreds of runners and walkers of all abilities are expected for Beragh Red Knights GAA club's annual event at noon on Saturday, April 19, at St Mary’s Park. Entrants can also pre-register by e-mailing details to adonnelly5@btinternet.com. For more information visit Facebook.com/ Beragh5 or contact 07795 111677.

Beragh Red Knights GAC recently held their annual five mile road run/ walk launch which will take place on Saturday, 19th April commencing at 12noon from St. Mary's Park in the village. Joining in the launch were Betty Baxter from Care for Cancer, designated charity, members of the Knockmany Running club, Omagh Harriers, Termon runners, sponsors SSE Airtricity, McAleer Jackson and Centra Magherafelt.

Thunder move up despite loss to Magherafelt Titans

OMAGH Thunder seniors had split their games with the Magherafelt Titans in the league this season; Omagh winning in the last second back in November and Magherafelt beating Omagh by 12 on their home court in January – and it was another defeat (61-41) for the local side when they met recently in the BNI Division 2 Playoff Final. Magherafelt came off 20 points to the good after big-game nerves got the better of the local side - a disappointing end to the season, but the Thunder seniors have had a great run winning 14 of 17 games overall and winning the BNI Division 2 league title. Next season Omagh Thunder will move onwards and upwards to Division 1 for a new challenge. The Club will host a fund-raising Night at the Races in the Weigh Inn next Friday,April 11 at 7.30pm. The junior club prize-giving will also be held on the night to recognise the junior talent in the club. The club would like to invite all players, parents, friends and their relatives to the night which should be a great evening’s entertainment and a vital fundraiser for the junior basketball club. For more info on the club visit omaghthunder.com or facebook.com/ omaghthunder.

Camowen Community Angling Association Update “We, the committee of newly formed CCAA, have been working tirelessly in the last few months to create an Angling Club that everyone can be a part of. The waters we have documented access to have been secured by meeting with local farmers and landowners and explaining what we are about. In the majority of cases, this has been the first time any of these landowners have had a visit regarding the river that runs through their lands and they were delighted to hear what we had planned and how we are so orientated towards the local community and promoting of healthy activities for our junior members. They were also delighted to hear that we plan to provide stiles to protect both the angler and the farmers’ fences. “We are an inclusive club and every application is decided on its own merit. Local anglers will be given priority as is common policy with all clubs. Some local landowners are in fact actively involved with our committee. At the time of typing this, we have secured about 85% of the waters from Carrickmore to Omagh town on the Camowen and have full support of local community organisations. “We are aware of an objection to our formation under some historic sporting rights nonsense and we do not recognize that claim in any shape or form. Before setting this club up, we exhausted every avenue searching for any documentation and nothing was found, in fact we learned that landowners’ rights far exceed any historic sporting right which is what we have. The objector in this instance was given multiple opportunities to provide evidence and failed to do so each time.” OAA Response Omagh Anglers Association stated “that Omagh Anglers still continues to hold the lease for the fishing rights on a substantial section of the River Camowen and its tributaries. This water has been with the club from the early days in the late 1940s and when the Belmore Estate was purchased by the Rountree family in 1964 the lease was formally extended.” OAA went on to state: “this water has had a substantial amount of money invested in it over the years as a result of a programme of continuous improvement and over £70,000 was spent in 2005 for enhancement work and improved nursery streams. Investment is ongoing with permission as we are mindful of the need to have landowners’ permission to undertake work on private property.” A complaint was raised against OAA that they neglected this water, and here is their response: “We have put up stiles and step-overs where the landowners gave us permission and we did not encroach upon land where we were asked not to. We have at no time removed another club’s signs or put up signs on water where we had no rights.” Regarding fishing rights, OAA claim: “The lease we have signed and the actual fishing rights document are available for viewing by all interested parties by making an appointment with Richard Rountree. The fishing rights can also be accessed at the Land Registry. These documents have both historical and legal significance. The validity of this agreement is recognized by the Land Registry of Northern Ireland. Omagh Anglers Association pay rent to the landlord who continues to hold the fishing rights.” So, to me, it looks like this will go down to interpretations of the legal definitions of “sporting rights”, “landowners rights” and “access rights” - among them be it… Weigh Inn charity competition A very successful fundraising fishing competition was organised by the Weigh Inn Angling Club at Birchwood Fishery on March 23. A total of 28 anglers took part and all but four anglers managed to catch. Jim Kelly hooked and landed the biggest fish of the day at 23lb 3ozs (pictured) winning himself the top prize of £100, he also won most fish caught (15, £75). Second heaviest fish went to Barry O’Donnell (5lb 6ozs, £50) and second most caught went to Bob Elkin (14 fish, £25). Tight lines and good luck for the new 2014 river season folks! MC

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TheSideline Local sport insights ...

Sports Roundup: Record entry at half marathon, F&W title race continues THE Old Mountfield Road has seen many a sight since the first SPAR Omagh Half Marathon, but nothing quite like the scene on Saturday when almost 3,000 runners took off from the start line of the 25th running of the event. And there were sights to behold all the way around the 13.1mile course, with hundreds and hundreds of spectators on hand to give much needed support to those brave souls who battered their feet on the tarmac, many for good causes. One man who didn't need much of a hand from the large crowds was eventual winner, Annadale Striders' Ed McGinley who, on his first appearance at the event took the overall win in a time of 1:6:37. He had been in a tight battle with Gary Murray and Gary O'Hanlon until the 11 mile mark, but he ended up finishing with a winning margin of just under two minutes. Stephen Duncan was the first local finisher in sixth, while Dublin City Marathon champion, Maria McCambridge won the ladies race ahead of Karen Alexander and Claire McGuigan. Patrick Monahan won the wheelchair race ahead of runner-up Jim Corbett and third placed Paul Hannan. For full results, visit www. championchipireland.com/results. Speaking after the hugely popular event, race director Michael Ward beamed: "I'm delighted with the whole thing, I don't think it could have gone any better. There were record numbers, the weather was kind to us, there were no mishaps and everything went to plan. There were plenty of marshalls on duty and great numbers of spectators out to support the runners. "We had music and entertainment and cheerleaders at the finish line - the atmosphere was great! I'd like to thank all our sponsors, though, because it's their support that enables us to make positive changes and attract top class athletes to the event."

Woods secures AllIreland title

Beragh man Johnny Woods was declared All Ireland Minor Singles Champion in Kingscourt, Co Cavan after an outstanding game observed by a capacity crowd. The young Breacach player defeated Fergal Coughlan, Co Clare, with a score line of 21-13 to 21 – 19 to claim the title. Johnny is only the third player ever from Tyrone to win the All Ireland Minor Crown. His next challenge will be in the Minor Doubles final where he teams up with Ryan Mullan (Carrickmore). omaghtoday | 48

Soccer

Also taking place in and around Omagh Leisure Complex on Saturday afternoon were two Fermanagh and Western top flight encounters, which would impact the title race. Strathroy Harps, who lost to Beragh Swifts a week earlier, beat Tummery Athletic 3-1, thanks to goals from Ryan Mayse (2) and Aidy McCaffrey to lead Enniskillen Town United at the top of the table. Town played on the adjacent pitch and beat Shelbourne 4-1. Further afield, Clogher Valley Rugby Club's first team were celebrating yet again this week. Last week they won the Qualifying One title with wins over Donaghadee and Cooke, while this week they scored a last minute converted try to beat Ballymena II 1311 in the Towns' Cup to reach the final, which will take place on Easter Monday at Ravenhill. Rugby Meanwhile, down at Omagh Accies, plans are being finalised for a family fun day this coming Saturday. There will be a veterans game, a ladies game, Omagh v Strabane in the league, mini games, pig racing, live music, bouncy castles and much more from 12 noon. Everyone welcome...oh, and you might just win a car! Even further afield, Tyrone's senior GAA footballers, inspired by Kyle Coney, drew 2-14 to 0-20 at Cork in the National League on Sunday to set up a crunch clash with Dublin this coming Sunday at Healy Park where they will battle it out for a place in the semifinals. The fans will be able to come onto the pitch at full time after the Dublin encounter to meet their heroes during their warm down. And, even further afield than Munster, Omagh's Gordon Noble and Trillick's Alastair Fisher are in Portugal this week to begin their Junior World Rally Championship campaign. They finished fourth there last year and are hoping for a podium spot this time around.

Weigh Inn attracts big names for darts invitational FOR the first time ever in Irish darts, the cream of the Irish players on the PDC and BDO circuits will come together in a massive one day tournament when the home of Northern Ireland darts, Omagh's Weigh Inn, opens its doors on Sunday (6th) for the Weigh Inn All Ireland Invitational Grand Slam of Darts with over ÂŁ5,000 in prize money up for grabs. 40 players from both pro circuits and a clutch of Northern Irish and Republic of Ireland internationals will step up to the oche at 12noon on Sunday with eight groups of five all battling it out to become the top player in Ireland . Speaking at the launch at the weekend Neechy Donnelly the tournament director spoke of the excitement that has gripped the darts world since the announcement of the Invitational. "We talked about this type of tournament for several years now and after checking the calendars of both the PDC and BDO tournaments the 6th of April stood out. It would have been great for a two day competition but that was not feasible so we sent out the invites and within 24 hours the entrants were complete!" Donnelly has worked hard to establish the Weigh Inn and the reputation of the festival of darts has cemented it as a focal point for throwers from all over the UK, but this is an Irish first. "I am delighted that we are going to bring forty of the best to compete for the title and prize money. The good news is that 24 players will all take away money from Omagh at the weekend with a high quality subsidiary tournament also set to keep the interest going all day. We have eight boards and a special finals board, the venue will be at its best Daryl Gurney who collected and I want to thank all the local throwers, dart the Irish Open on his last visit enthusiasts and of course our staff for their help to the Weigh Inn and support," enthused Donnelly.


Omagh Sports Forum Awards Conor Mc Crory wit hO received the Runn live Kee who The Omagh district sports champions pictured after er up Se to Sport A rvices ward and the presentation of awards at the Strule Arts Centre V who won the covete alerie Rowan last Thursday night. d award. The cream of Omagh and District's sporting crop gathered at the Strule Arts Centre on Thursday night for the annual Omagh Sports Forum Awards honouring the achievements of athletes from all disciplines and walks of life. Numerous awards were handed out across the seven main categories with the main honours going to Drumquin hockey player Shirley McCay, who won 'Senior Sport Person of the Year' and Valerie Rowan, who was honoured for her services to tennis over many years. nior n the Ju , who wo tured with in rt a M rl Ca rd pic rson Awa Sports Pe . ts n pare his proud

Martin McColgan presents the Senior Sports Person Award, which was won by Shirley McCay, to Shirley's mum.

Sandra Magee presents the Disabled Sports Person award to Naomi Connell.

Ken Strong presents the Senior coach of the year award to Seamus Fanthorpe, Strathroy Harps FC.

Ken Strong presents the Coach of the year Runner up award to Brian McGrath, Badminton.

Bernie Fox presents the Junior Sports person runner-up award to Olivia Roulston.

On behalf of Mark Nethery receives his runner up award in the Disabled Sports person section from Sandra Magee.

Olive Kee presents the Senior Sports team award to Kieran McGirr who received it on behalf of Strathroy Harps FC.

Bert Wilson presents the Junior Sports Team award to Omagh Harriers U15 Boys Athletic team.

Niall Kerr receives the Senior Sport Runner up awart from Martin McColgan.

Colin Maybanks receives his runner up award in the Disabled Sports person section from Sandra Magee.

Olive Kee presents the Senior Sports Team award to Lewis Boyd and Leslie Young, Omagh Rallying team.

Young Omagh Harriers U15 team members who won the Junior Sports team award. omaghtoday | 49


NO ADULTS ALLOWED!!!

The Big Family Picnic,

An Creagan, April 21.

It’s Spring at last! The frogs have spawned, the daffodils are blooming… and An Creagan will kick start the season on Easter Monday with the BIG Family Picnic, a day of outdoor fun for the whole family! Take the opportunity to join other picnickers for a good oldfashioned day out. Experience the Mad Hatter’s tea party or bring your own picnic. There will be live music from Martello Jazz Band for the grown-ups, and lots of fun filled activities for the children. This event is free and takes place from 12 noon until 4pm

Fun at Barrontop Farm April ??-??

From cute spring lambs to fluffy rabbits there will be lots of very sweet and furry attractions to delight the whole family at Barrontop Fun farm this Easter! Visit Harvey the Easter Bunny in the land of little rabbits, and hang out with Peppa Pig and Spiderman in the large indoor fun house, multi-storey soft play area and bouncy castle. In addition to visiting the farm animals there will be face painting, balloon modeling, tractor and trailer trips and pony rides – and to cap it all off, you can take part in a fun Easter egg hunt around the whole farm! Don’t forget to cut out Omagh Today’s special money off coupon to get 20% off a family ticket!

Easter Workshop,

Strule Arts Centre, April 11

Creative kids will love this eggs-tra special workshop with Frances Sweeney at the Strule Arts Centre. Suitable for children aged 5-10, you can make your very own unique Easter Decoration omaghtoday | 50

- choose your own colour and design to make it really special! And as if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get the chance to take part in an Easter egg hunt around the building before you leave – will you be lucky enough to find a scrumptious treat? Children are advised to bring an apron or similar to cover their clothes and also a small snack. There’s also a 10% discount when two or more children from the same family book. Starts at 4pm.

Easter Extravaganza at Belfast Zoo April 18-22

A trip to Belfast Zoo is always a treat but it’s going to be extra special over Easter with lots of themed activities for visitors to enjoy! Celebrate Easter with the animal characters, follow the Easter egg trail and visit all your favourite animals at feeding time. It’s all about baby lambs on the farm but the Zoo has some extra special babies for you to visit too – don’t miss Ping and Pong the emperor tamarin babies, Lucy and Pixie the baby chimpanzees and Baako the gorilla. Finally don’t miss our competition – we have one family pass for the Zoo to give away!

Paint your own Easter eggs ??

This is a great fun activity for a rainy afternoon – ask mum or dad to ‘blow’ some hen’s eggs by piercing them top and bottom with a pin and then carefully blowing the contents out (you can make scrambled eggs or omelette for tea!) You’ll need acrylic or chalk paint - poster paint won’t stick to the shells – and some brushes. Then just go wild! It’s traditional to paint the eggs in pastel shades but you can do whatever takes your fancy. Use ribbon or garden twine to hang them up when dry – they look really good hanging on a bunch of twisty branches from the garden, pushed into a vase or small plant pot.

Movie Magic: The Princess and The Frog Strule Arts Centre, April 19

From the directors of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Discover what really happened after the princess kissed the frog in an inspired twist on the world's most famous kiss. Enter Princess Tiana's world of talking frogs, singing alligators and lovesick fireflies as she embarks on an incredible journey and realises


WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN

what's truly important in life...love, family and friendship. Certificate U; movie starts at 11.30am and runs for 89 minutes. Admission is £3 but there’s also a special offer available at the Box Office - £10.00 for one adult and three children or two adults and two children.

Elephants, Sumatran tigers, sea lions, penguins, chimpanzees, snakes, spiders – what’s your favourite animal at Belfast Zoo? One lucky winner will get the chance to go and see their fave at the Zoo this Easter because we’ve got a family pass (two adults and up to three children) to give away! To be in with a chance of winning simply complete and return the coupon to Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, BT790UN before April 17. Winners will be notified by phone. Name: Address:

Bowling bonanza ????

Ten pin bowling is the definition of family fun – even toddlers can usually manage to take part with a bit of help and of course it’s great fun for mums and dads too! All this fun and more can be found right on your doorstep at Johnny Rocko’s in Irivnestown – there’s bowling, soft play at Little Rambo’s and yummy food for afterwards too, making this a perfect afternoon out for kids and big kids alike – check out our money off voucher too!

Tel No:

WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN

Easter Celebrations at the Ulster American Folk Park, April 19-22

Visit the Folk Park for a typical Spring Fair Day in Ulster in the year 1914. Stroll down Shipbuoy Street and experience the sights, smells and sounds of a busy market day in any major town during that time.
Stallholders, shopkeepers, travelling journeymen and entertainers will keep you amused throughout the day. 10-5pm daily, normal admission applies.

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