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Issue 86

Thursday 17th April 2014 EVERY FORTNIGHT

p4 Claire Martin talks to a Fintona man about the excruciating condition that’s left him housebound at just 44

Easter fun at integrated ps FEATURE p19 Talented tots dance up a storm at Care For Cancer 'Strictly Kids' fundraiser

ONLY £1.25

p59

FEATURE p54 Pig racing, showcase matches and a prize bonanza at Accies' family fun day


Welcome...

ISSUE 86 | 17TH APR 2014 12

25

4

23

44 Big Interview

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Omagh Harrier Sara is right at home on the plains

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Legamaghery school re union

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St. Dympna’s P. S., Dromore Coffee morning

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Around in circles

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Walk for Sandra in Mountfield

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Omagh Accies fun fundraising day

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Kids - Choc-tastic

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It’s official! Spring has finally, officially sprung. The wee lambs are skipping in the fields and the trees are coming back to life again – there’s nothing quite like it! In fact, it’s put us in the mood for a bumper edition; 60 pages of loveliness for you to enjoy. Sadly, not everyone can get out to enjoy the warmer, longer days and one such person is Jason Jones from Fintona, who we talked to this week about the debilitating and often embarrassing condition that has caused him to become housebound at only 44 years old. Read more inside about his story so far and why he needs a change in the law to help him get out and about again. We continue our run-up to the May council elections by chatting to Stephen McCann – a new face for the general public perhaps, but a young man who has been involved in politics in his home town of Trillick since he was just a schoolboy. Find out why he’s decided now is the time to throw his hat in the ring, and what he hopes to achieve for rural areas if he’s elected. We have Omagh Tennis Club head coach and Galway native Mark Smyth in the Hot Seat, and we went transatlantic to chat with an Omagh Harrier who is making big waves on the track scene at Oklahoma City University. Pat has been a busy bee as ever; check out his fab photo coverage from the Omagh Accies fun day, the Gortin 10K, catwalk style at the Miss Spring into Summer modeling competition, the Mulligan Memorial cycle, drama from Dromore, Drumquin and the Omagh Community Showcase and piles more! We also have your favourites each fortnight including the Mummy Diaries, single gal antics with Bessie, baking with Wee Buns and a day to remember for Andy Gordon. So boil the kettle, find a sunny spot (even if it’s indoors!) and enjoy!

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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Email - ads@omaghtoday.com or telephone Pat - 077 1284 0985

PHOTOGRAPHY

Pat McSorley - 077 1284 0985 | pat@omaghtoday.com

LETTERS

Email: claire@omaghtoday.com | pat@omaghtoday.com Tel. 028 8075 8078

Printed by Ecclesville Printing, Fintona - 028 8284 0048 - www.epsni.com - info@epsni.com

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"I JUST WANT OUT" Claire Martin talks to a Fintona man about the excruciating condition that’s left him housebound at just 44 – and why he needs a change in the law to help him get his life back

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MAGINE being a prisoner in your own home; a shop just yards from your front door but unable to even go and buy a pint of milk without suffering excruciating pain, and being told by the authorities there’s nothing they can do to help. This is reality for Fintona man Jason Jones. To look at him, you might not notice at first that there’s anything wrong – but for the past 27 years Jason has suffered from a rare and debilitating condition that has robbed him of a normal life and left him housebound. At 17, Jason was like any other young man, ready to make his way into the world with dreams of career, marriage, maybe kids one day. When he developed a painful abscess on one buttock he never dreamed it would be the start of years of pain that would eventually lead to his diagnosis with a rare and incurable disease. He explains: “I didn’t think too much of it at first, I thought it was just a spot. But more or less overnight it became massive, it went omaghtoday | 4

from the base of my spine right down to the top of my leg and it just wouldn’t heal. I had my first operation to remove it a short time later. Over the next six years I was just going back and forth to the doctor and the hospital; I kept getting these big lumps and they kept removing them. It got to the point where I could just turn up at the ward without a referral. I didn’t have a name for what was wrong with me until my sister moved to England, and her new GP asked about her family medical history. She told him about me, and he told her to get me on a plane. So I went over to Epsom General Hospital in Surrey and within half an hour I was told I had Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It was a relief to finally put a name to it, but devastating to find out that first of all very little was known about it, and also that there was no known cure.” Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition which affects just 1% of the population and results from abnormalities in the apocrine sweat glands. These glands are found in the armpits, behind the ears, around the buttocks and genitals and specifically produce the type of sweat

that contains pheromones, which give our bodies their own unique odour. It’s not clear exactly why it happens, but in people with HS, the secretions from these glands become trapped under the skin and develop into areas of infection which then rupture and ooze pus. Abscesses and infection can then develop as a result and the sores are extremely difficult to heal. Jason spent the next number of years trying various different drug therapies to control his symptoms, to no avail. HS is assessed in ‘stages’, with stage one being the mildest form and stage three the most severe. As Jason’s condition progressed to stage 3, he began to develop large numbers of sores all over his body and these were connected by channels called ‘sinus tracts’ under the skin, which allowed the infection to travel farther and deeper, causing even more pain. “The pain is incredible,” he says. “It’s like having a hot knife pushed into your skin. The sinus tracts are terrible – you could press on one lesion and pus would come out of another one somewhere else. Where there are lesions you can’t tolerate


anything touching or rubbing against them so it affected my whole life. I didn’t want to go out because if somebody bumped into me it was agony. I couldn’t hold down a full-time job because when I had a flare-up I wouldn’t be able to go in. My sleep was disrupted because moving in bed was so painful. I’ve had relationships in the past but it’s a lot for another person to deal with; they never worked out.” The only solution to Jason’s agony was surgery – an ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ kind of answer, because in order to remove the root cause of the disease, surgeons had to remove huge swathes of his skin’s deep layers, where the apocrine glands are found. He had both armpits removed, followed by most of the tissue from his groin area, and later his buttocks. More surgery followed – he’s endured 96 separate procedures in all - to try and control the formation of scar tissue, with limited success. “The surgery is really invasive because they have to basically dig down into the skin to remove the apocrine glands as well as all the infected tissue. I was in hospital for about three weeks after my groin surgery and every other day they had to unpack and repack the wounds which just feels like somebody ripping the skin off you. Because areas like your groin and your armpits are always moving, they can’t do skin grafts or anything, you just have to wait for it to heal. Since 2001 I’ve had two operations every year and after each one, the scar tissue has meant my mobility has decreased.” This progressive loss of mobility means that now, aged just 44, Jason is trapped in the body of somebody much older. Simple tasks like tying his own shoelaces are impossible, because his scarred skin won’t stretch. He can’t bend, he can’t walk any significant distance, he can’t bear anything touching his back or buttocks, which are still ravaged by sores – and perhaps worst of all, he can’t sit down, which means unlike other disabled people, he can’t use a mobility scooter to get around. “I am in pain all the time. I don’t remember what it’s like not to be in pain,” he says. “I take morphine-based painkillers every day but I still can’t live a normal life. They have taken away so much of the tissue around my groin and buttocks that there is really nothing protecting my bones except a layer of skin – when I walk it feels like my bones are just grinding together and it’s just far too painful to sit down. I can lie on my side, so during the day I alternate between standing for 20 minutes or half an hour, and then lying down for a while. Sometimes that goes on all day and all night because I can’t get comfortable enough to sleep.” Since he can no longer use a mobility scooter, Jason has been looking into alternatives that would allow him to get around in a standing position, but he’s been met with dead ends at every turn. He would like to be able to use a Segway – but far from

being certified for use as medical devices in this country, they are not even legal to use in public places. “Up until ten years ago I was still able to get out and about, and then three years ago I got a mobility scooter. It was OK for a while but I can’t use it now because I can’t sit down. I contacted Mobility and they told me I was the first person in the UK to request a stand-on mobility scooter, but that they can’t help because all their scooters are designed for sitting on. A Segway would be

I don’t want to think that this life I have now is all there is for me – it’s worse than bleak

so I just decided to get on with it – and that’s what I want to do; I just want to live my life as best I can. I don’t want to think that this life I have now is all there is for me – it’s worse than bleak. I’m not asking much – I just want to be able to go from A to B, and have a bit of independence. In today’s world we wouldn’t dream of discriminating against somebody because they can’t walk, but I am being discriminated against because I can’t sit; my needs as a disabled person are not being met. I just want out. If I could get a stand-on scooter I could maybe get the bus down to Omagh and see my friends, but honestly, I’d be happy just to get past my garden gate.”

perfect for me because it’s designed specifically for standing on, but under UK law you can’t use them anywhere except private property – so either I need a change in the law, or I need a new type of scooter. They have other stand-on models in America, but they’re not available here.” As things are, Jason is almost completely isolated; he has no independence, few visitors, and relies on the internet for contact with the outside world. Social workers, occupational therapists - nobody has been able to give any indication that they will be able to help him now or in the future - and yet he manages to remain hopeful, and hold onto his selfdeprecating sense of humour. “Humour is the only thing I have left really,” he says. “If you’re strong mentally, you can get over anything and thank God I have been able to do that over the years. I did go through a phase of asking ‘why me’ and I got depressed about it, but that only lasted for about two years. I realised there was no point feeling sorry for myself

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Engagements, weddings, babies, gossip…

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

Pictured at the Ulster American Folk Park after their marriage at St John’s Parish Church, Castlederg on April 4 are Andrea Porter from Castlederg and Noel Donnell from Omagh. The couple held their wedding reception at the Silverbirch Hotel. Photo: Isobel O’Brien.

Pictured after their recent wedding at the Sacred Heart are Donna Irvine from Omagh and her groom Christopher Kelly from Co. Armagh, who made the trip back from their adopted home in Melbourne, Australia to celebrate their big day with family and friends. The couple held their wedding reception at Cabra Castle, Co. Cavan, and spent a total of five weeks catching up with loved ones in Northern Ireland before jetting off to the Maldives for a well-deserved rest before returning to Oz. Flowers: Floral Temptations. Photo: Erica Irvine Photography.

Anniversary celebrations coming up for this gorgeous pair! Omagh school teacher Kyra Armstrong tied the knot with her beau Richard McMullin in July 2013 at Sixmilecross Presbyterian Church, with reception afterwards in the Manor House Hotel, Killadeas. The pair had been dating for five years when Richard popped the question on the beach in Portrush, one of Kyra’s favourite places. They returned there for their engagement photos, and tied the knot two years later. Photo: Erica Irvine Photography.

Omagh Today’s Andy Gordon and his wife Evelyn pose proudly with their daughter, Jeni, at her wedding to Riz Mansor on April 11. The ceremony and reception were held at beautiful Crom Castle on Upper Lough Erne. Riz's parents, along with his brother and girlfriend travelled from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to take part in the festivities. Jeni and Riz are heading to California on honeymoon, before returning to London, where they both live and work.

Expect this one to go viral any day now folks – talented groom Barry Woods wowed guests when he played the fiddle as his bride, Rachael Donnelly, walked up the aisle at St Mary’s Church, Drumragh for their wedding on April 4. The couple later celebrated their marriage with a reception at Lough Eske Castle. 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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Survive and Thrive Biz Camp Left: Noelle McAloon, Survive and Thrive with guest speakers Ben O'Hanlon, Paul Conlon and Paul Clancy, Sean Donnelly, Vice Chair of Omagh District Council, Elaine Fyffe and Julian McKeown, Omagh Chamber. Right: Lynda Fyffe, Cleanwell with visitors at her stand. THE rich talent and experience that exists in the Omagh business community was celebrated recently when the first ever Omagh Bizcamp was hosted by the ‘Survive and Thrive II’ Programme in partnership with Omagh Chamber of Commerce. Over 70 people visited the Bizcamp event on Wednesday last which was also attended by almost 40 exhibitors from across the Omagh district, providing information on all facets of business life, including the support which exists for businesses and how to learn new skills. The theme of the 2014 Omagh Bizcamp was Start IT, Grow IT, Sell IT and as well as being able to take time walking round the numerous exhibitions and stands, visitors were able to learn first hand from local businesses who were speaking about their experiences in the world of commerce. The event was opened by Mr Sean Donnelly, vice chair of Omagh District Council, who encouraged visitors to make the best use of the event and to network freely. A series of three talks took place during the course of the evening and each speaker was warmly received by the large audience.

Ballygawley’s Ben O’Hanlon recounted his business journey which started 25 years ago at Todd’s Leap with a single vehicle. Ben reinforced that entrepreneurs can achieve anything they desire in life as long as they believe in themselves and are prepared to work hard for it. Paul Conlon from CK International was the second speaker who inspired those in the audience with his story of growth from a one man band to managing three international companies, and the final speaker was Paul Clancy from the Angel Investment Company HALO who outlined how the business angel process works, including how to secure funding from private investors and information on how to grow, fund and even sell your business if desired. President of Omagh Chamber, Mr Julian McKeown said: “Omagh Bizcamp attracted entrepreneurs from all sectors and levels of experience, who came to share their experience and learn from others. The night created an atmosphere of positivity, information finding and good business communication.” To find out more about Survive and Thrive, please contact Noelle McAloon on 07872424246.

Councillor Bert Wilson, right, with Sean Barry McElduff, MLA, second from right Heaney and John Kelly and Bronagh Councillor Elaine Thompson speaking to the with guests at the Todds Leap stand. Northern Bank representatives. Gormley, SSE energy.

Seskinore G. B. Parent's night

Above: Rev Linda Keys with Seskinore GB Explorers and their leaders Jean Patterson, Alice McFarland and Hannah McDowell. Top Right: Rev Linda Keys with Seskinore GB Juniors and their leaders Hazel McDowell, Rachel Wilson, Jan Allen and Norma Crawford. Right: Seskinore GB Seniors and Brigaders with leaders Norma Crawford and Hazel McDowell. Also in the photo is Rev Linda Keys.


TALKOFTHETOWN Care for Cancer’s Joan thrilled to receive MBE from Prince of Wales THE whole team at Omagh’s only independent cancer charity, Care For Cancer, were on a high last week after their charity’s founder Joan Hamilton received her MBE from none other than the Prince of Wales himself during a ceremony at Hillsborough Castle. Joan formed Care for Cancer back in 1988 as a result of her own frustration at the lack of support available when her husband was battling terminal bowel cancer – and 25 years on was delighted to be informed that she had been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2013. After a short delay caused by the fact that Donegal-born Joan is actually an Irish citizen, she finally got word that she would travel to Hillborough Castle on April 2 to receive her award – not realizing that Prince Charles himself would be handing over the honour. “I had a suspicion when I saw that he had visited Enniskillen the day before,” she says, “but we didn’t find out until the day that it would definitely be Charles who was presenting the honours. It was an absolutely wonderful experience; we got to see around Hillsborough castle and meet the staff, and then Charles gave a short address before we were given our awards with our families watching on. He was absolutely lovely – I felt a great rapport with him and I was just amazed at how much interest he took and how much he knew about Care for Cancer. “I started the charity after I rang a helpline one night in despair

Work to begin on Beragh’s £1.35million flood scheme


WORK on a £1.35 million scheme to alleviate the flood risk in the Beragh area is due to get underway shortly, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill, has announced. The contract for the work has now been awarded to BSG Civil Engineering Ltd, Maghera, and construction work is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. The project, which is expected to take a year to complete, will see the construction of flood defences to protect property at four different locations within the village. It comes after a number of homes and other properties, including a new GAA Pavilion, were severely affected by flooding in 2011. 
 Minister O'Neill, who has responsibility for the Rivers Agency, said: “The flooding which the community has experienced in recent years highlights the need for this vital work. I am pleased to announce that the contractor will start work shortly on this essential project, which will provide flood protection to 20 properties.

 “Rivers Agency has worked very closely with the local community throughout the development of this scheme and has already undertaken interim measures to reduce the risk of flooding, in advance of the permanent scheme being completed. I hope today’s announcement will give assurance to residents and property owners.” 

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and got a recorded message. I was complaining that it wasn’t good enough and my husband, Harold, told me to stop complaining and do something about it. Prince Charles seemed to know this because he said to me ‘I believe this all came about because of a recorded message!’. He knew that we are based in Omagh and the surrounding area and said he thought we were doing very important work. “Then after the presentation of awards we were invited into the throne room for tea and coffee. As it worked out, I was the last person to receive my award and the first person to speak with Charles afterwards – he came up to me and took me by the elbow, and said ‘I hope that wasn’t too daunting for you’. He was just lovely, really down to earth – we also talked about organic gardening, which is a big interest of his and something we are looking to explore now with our new men’s group at Care for Cancer. It really was such a lovely day, I was floating the whole time and it has given everyone at Care for Cancer a real lift, especially the volunteers – none of this would have been possible without them, they are my right hand and always there and willing to help when I need them,” said Joan. Photos courtesy of Harrison Photography

Aaron eyes London stand-up gig YOUNG Omagh comedian Aaron McCann is through to the semifinals of the Chortle Student Comedy Awards, to be held in London next month, after topping an online public vote for the ‘People’s Choice’. Aaron, who made his comedy debut at Daly’s two years ago, has exploded onto the comedy scene in Northern Ireland and has already performed in Dublin and at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Having secured enough votes to progress to the next phase of the Chortle competition – with a top prize of £2,000 and some major UK_wide publicity – Aaron said he was shocked and excited. “I now head on to the next stage of the competition which is the semi final in London on the 22nd of May. If every granny in Ireland lights a candle for me and I somehow qualify for the final then that will take place at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. The competition itself is a big thing because the winner receives two grand in cash and some serious exposure. “My reaction is still in the shocked stages to be honest! When I told people to vote I didn’t think I stood a chance but I've got some amazing support from the best crowd of friends that I could ask for so if nothing else is to come of this competition I'm happy, because I know that my local community supports me and wants me to do well and that’s awesome. Plus I get to gig in London – that’s surreal to me!”


Homeowners urged to avail of scheme to banish cold callers ROGUE traders who prey on the elderly and vulnerable are being targeted after police in Omagh launched a new scheme aimed at keeping cold callers away from your door. Brand new 'No Cold Calling Zone...no uninvited traders' window stickers, developed in association with Trading Standards, are now available to warn off cold callers - and a contact number is provided to report those who ignore the sticker's warning to Trading Standards. The stickers have been distributed throughout Northern Ireland in

Sgt. Bernard Gallagher, Const. Mark Phillips and Const. Dara McGrath from Omagh PSNI pictured highlighting a new scheme to keep cold callers at bay. recent months. While it should be noted that not all cold callers are rogue traders, the project has been developed by police to put a stop to those unofficial traders who may over-charge an unsuspecting and often elderly householder for poor quality work or work that is never completed at all. The stickers give a householder the opportunity to warn cold callers that they are not wanted at their door, that ignoring that warning could constitute a breach of 'Consumer

Protection from Unfair Trading' regulations and that further action may be taken by Trading Standards. The project is not designed to apply to established callers such as a milk delivery or window-cleaners. Inspector Scott Fallis said: "Most callers at your door will be genuine but someone could be trying to gain access to look around your property or charge you far too much for shoddy or non-existent work. "Police already provide our free Quick Check service (0800 013 12 90) to check if people like meter readers are genuine, and now the community will have the power to warn rogue traders like scam 'handymen' that they are aware of rogue trading, that they won't be duped and will take action through Trading Standards if someone tries. "The best place for a would-be scam artists is well away from your door, which is why we are providing these schemes to help people show doorstep criminals the door," he said. No Cold Calling Zone stickers are available on request from your local Crime Prevention Officer by calling 101.

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Omagh Harrier Sara is right at home on the plains

HEN Sara Moore from Omagh first got into running aged just 12 as a pupil at sacred Heart College, she didn’t think much beyond the finish line – certainly, she had no idea just how far her newfound passion could take her! Now 19 and enrolled at Oklahoma City University with a full athletics scholarship, she’s battled through injury to come back even stronger, and is making waves on the college track scene in America. Most recently, Sara won the 1500m at the Emporia State Outdoor Relays on April 5 with a nine-second margin, giving her an impressive time of 4:39.05 and securing her place at the prestigious NAIA Outdoor Championships in May. She was also in competition over 800m, where she claimed third place in 2:21.17. The teenager, who hails from Centenary Park, explains: “I've been running since I was 12 years old, but it wasn't until my fifth year at school that I began to show potential, I've represented Ulster, Northern Ireland and Ireland on many occasions, internationally and in Europe. I also have 16 E-district titles and in my fifth year I won three Ulster titles and an Irish title in the 3k. That year also I carried the Olympic torch.” Sara is now halfway through her first year at university in Oklahoma, where she’s studying to become a teacher, and is settling well into American life. “I got a full scholarship to study and compete on the cross country and track team. The year is divided into two semesters and I have to maintain a grade point average of over 2.0 in my academic studies to be allowed to run on the team. It’s probably quite different to universities at home because the campus is alcohol and tobacco free but then it’s mostly made up of athletes and students from a the

Sara is now halfway through her first year at university in Oklahoma, where she’s studying to become a teacher, and is settling well into American life.

dance school so everyone is pretty focused on health and fitness, I don’t think there would be much interest even if we were allowed! “I’ve settled in really well. I wasn’t nervous about coming over here on my own, more just excited about this amazing opportunity I’ve been given – I miss home of course, but this is my dream and it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I definitely don’t miss the weather! It does get really cold here and Oklahoma is famous for its strong winds but at the minute it’s really warm and we’re not at altitude so I’m enjoying the conditions for training and competing. “I was injured for indoor season where I also qualified for nationals in the 3K, but I got rehab and was soon back to my full fitness with my coach's help! I raced two weeks ago where I ran my first 1500m of the season and I ran 4.44, then this past Saturday coach ran me again in the 1500m where I ran 4.39 - a 5 sec improvement and also placing first with a 50 metre gap on the rest of the field, which I was delighted with. This meant I qualified with an A standard and go to outdoor nationals which are on the 22-24 of May in Gulfshore, Alabama. I'm hoping to also qualify in the 800m.” Sara, who has been a member of Omagh Harriers since she started running, says her long term dream would be to compete in the Olympics. “Like every other athlete I want to go far in my running career, but for now I'm going to enjoy running on such a dedicated and committed team. My dream for the future is to some day get a sponsorship and maybe run in the Olympics, but only time will tell!” she said.

Tributes paid to arts champion Roy Wilkinson TRIBUTES have been paid to former teacher and champion of the arts in Omagh and District, Roy Wilkinson, who passed away on April 3, following a period of illness. He was 70. A native of Ballymoney, Mr Wilkinson moved to Omagh in the mid 60s to take up a post teaching art at Omagh Academy. A keen artist and painter in his own right, he was well known for the humour and enthusiasm he brought into the classroom. He threw himself with gusto into all aspects of school life, from his vociferous support of the school’s rugby teams, to the annual design and painting of sets for school plays, and the development of ‘art and design’ as a subject, increasing the scope for students wishing to make their career in the creative industries. He held the office of chairman of the Northern Ireland Association of Art and Design for a decade, and from the early 80s he was heavily involved in the Omagh Arts Council, which was responsible for bringing famous names such as comedian Rory Bremner and profoundly deaf percussionist, Evelyn Glenning, to the town as part of the Omagh Arts Festival. His passion for showcasing the arts and introducing others to his love of music, theatre and fine art led him to omaghtoday | 10

drive forward the development of the Strule Arts Centre, where he was a board member right up until his death, and which has ensured that the people of Omagh will continue to enjoy these pleasures for generations to come. A talented singer, Roy was a member of Omagh Music Society since its inception, and his tenor voice was a regular feature in the choir at Trinity Presbyterian Church, where he was a faithful member for many years. A special choral performance at his funeral was a fitting tribute. He was also a stalwart of the Omagh Lions Club with a boundless enthusiasm for helping others, particularly young people and those with special needs; he was involved in some of the club’s most successful fundraising activities, including an art auction which raised over £35,000. He held the club presidency in 2000 and went on to receive the Melvin Jones Award, an accolade bestowed on only a handful of Lions members in recognition of their outstanding work. A massive turnout at his funeral on Saturday last was testament to the high esteem in which Roy was held by his many friends and colleagues. His is survived by his wife, Margaret, son, Gareth, daughter, Deirdre, and wider family circle.


Seven of the best

Raymond McGaghan, Sean Mellon, Tommy Sharkey, Marty O'Neill, Roddy Chism, Ricky Dunne and John Droogan who have joined forces to raise funds for the 'Men Against Prostate Cancer' fund by growing beards and moustaches. The big shave will be on Easter Sunday and the lads are accepting sponsorship.

Acheson & Glover 'Slipper Day' raises funds for kids with cancer

STAFF at Acheson & Glover’s Ballygawley site got an extra 30 seconds in bed recently because they didn’t have to put their shoes on for work – instead it was on with their slippers as part of a fundraiser for kids’ cancer charity, Clic Sargent. Staff members made a donation in order to wear their slippers to the office – or a bigger one to get out of doing it, in some cases – and the total raised was £253.

Seskinore YFC gearing up for annual charity tractor run Seskinore YFC will be holding their Annual Charity Tractor drive in aid of Omagh Friends of Marie Curie Cancer Care on Sunday, May 4. Tractors will be leaving Tyrone Farming Society Showgrounds, Gillygooley Road, Omagh at 2pm. Registration from 12 noon. Entry £10 per tractor. All tractors must be legally licensed and road worthy. Tractors will follow the route leaving from Tyrone Farming Society Showgrounds travelling up the Great Northern bypass to Fintona, through Fintona towards Seskinore, and onwards to Beragh travelling to Sixmilecross. From Sixmilecross they will return back to Tyrone Farming Society Showgrounds to finish off with a BBQ and prize presentations. For more Information, please contact: Henry on 07588831339 or Michaela on 07926583013. Please support this good cause whether driving or observing along the route - a good day’s ‘craic’ is assured!

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Pete and Kevin lose their locks for Autism

Above: Fundraisers . . . . . . or hair raisers Pete Breslin and Kevin Colgan have their mohicans shaved off by Michaella McPhilomey and Claire Campbell of Claire's Hair Studio at the big National Autism Day shave in the Village Inn on Saturday, April 5.

Showcase brings out community talent

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Education Minister opens St. Conor’s new extension

Education Minister John O’Dowd was the guest of honour at St Conor’s PS, Omagh, recently for the official opening of the school’s new £200,000 extension. The new facilities include a refurbishment of existing classrooms and the primary one ‘learning through play’ area; the addition of an ICT resource room; enclosed cloakrooms and an internal fire escape. A further £130,000 in funding has already been secured to upgrade the school’s toilet facilities; the work will take place during the summer holidays.

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I recently got this card as part of a collection I bought in the past few weeks. Unfortunately the card has been trimmed down to allow it to fit a modern picture album. However the damage is to the top end and thankfully there is little damage to the image itself. Many collectors, including myself, will only take damaged cards until a better print comes along. Some collectors will not entertain damaged cards at all, no matter how rare the card is. I have seen good cards ruined by people cutting out stamps, letting children play with them and storing cards in damp conditions. This card of Fintona Main Street was published by Firths for E.S. Bullick, Fintona. During the golden age of postcard collecting many millions of cards were posted every month. By 1960 not only was production dropping off but postcards were seen, by many, as unnecessary since photos appeared regularly in local and national newspapers. In addition affordable cameras and processing had put the ability to take personal photos into the hands of the ordinary man or woman. There are several interesting details in the card: the Northern Bank clock on the left hand side and the petrol pumps on the right hand side help to frame the scene. The photo has been taken from an elevated position and we can see the sweep of the street with the daily activity. At the bottom of the street, on the right, there is a sign for a chemist shop and immediately in front of that is the

distinctive barber's pole. Traditionally a barber’s pole was red and white to signify that they bled people, a medical practice thankfully long discontinued by the 1960s. I have to say I remember one particular barber, in Omagh, who frequently interrupted haircuts to pop across the street for a drink. After a few times he may have come close to drawing blood! The people on the right hand side may be identifiable by some of you. After all this photo was taken within living memory. I like cards in which you can identify shops and businesses. You can see the Central Bar and McCarney's shop. The name McCarney is of particular interest to me as there are McCarneys in my father’s side of the family. I have not been able to do enough research into this side of my family yet but hope to do someday. At the very bottom of the street you can see the Police Station. For many collectors of post offices or police stations (or indeed petrol pumps) this would be enough to entice them to buy a card like this. In my case I collect specific areas and try to get any and all views of an area. I have met a collector of Irish Rebellion cards who has such a wide collection of these cards that he is reduced to looking for different shades of the same card! I am not that bad yet. Damaged or not this is a welcome addition to my collection. postcards@mgtaggart.com

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Everything’s relative

Bessie Belle

An Omagh’s girl’s take on life... It’s that’s time of year again. That inbetweeny, not-quite-Spring-butnot really-winter-any-more time when I always have a major crisis. It’s a very stressful time for me because…I can never figure out what to wear! The winter coat is too hot but it’s still a bit chilly for the light jacket. You lug a brolly about with you everywhere in case of a shower, but it doesn’t rain. Then, when it does rain, you’ve left your brolly in the car. Why does this always happen just as the hairdresser is putting the hairspray on your freshly blow-dried hair? If it does happen to rain when you have your brolly, the wind manages to turn it inside out and the only thing it’s good for then is the bin. The weather seems to be in cahoots with the Met Office in order to ensure the forecast is NEVER right! And then there’s the shoes. When I think about it, the happiness of my feet determine whether I have a good day or bad day. The in-between season has major implications for footwear. I have spent the entire winter in opaque tights, under thick socks and boots to keep out the cold and the wet. Now the weather’s getting warmer and, supposedly, drier, this makes choosing footwear much more complicated. I looked at the shoes in my wardrobe but I immediately discounted the fancy heels for day wear. They are beautiful, but they’re only made for going from taxi to bar stool and no further. And sure all us girls know about

that dull stinging you get in the balls of your feet after walking too long in a pair of high heels. I knew I couldn’t risk that at work so I went out and bought a lovely wee pair of pumps in readiness for the good weather. Perfect, I thought, nice and flat and easy to wear and I can wear them all day without my tootsies getting sore. How wrong was I? I watched a programme once about those poor weemen in China who had their feet all bound up and deformed when they were wanes. Now I know how they feel - by the time I got home from work, I had cramp in my big toe, the feet were cut off me and I was standing in pools of water because it started to teem the minute I left the office. Nobody told me those pumps were so awkward! In the shop they were lovely but within ten minutes of wearing them, I was straining my toes to keep them on and they were rubbing against my heels and blistering the sides of my feet. Shoe nightmare! I had to take them off at my desk and cover my feet in plasters which all rubbed off with the friction when I so much as walked to the bathroom. I was not a happy girl; my poor feet were a mess but at least my balls didn’t ache! I know, I know! First world problems and all that, it would be far worse if I was a wee wane in Syria but I’m not, I’m a single woman in Omagh: everything’s relative.

All-Ireland appearance for Gaelscoil drama pupils PUPILS from Omagh’s Gaelscoil na gCrann will travel to Mullingar, Co. Westmeath next week, to take part in this year’s All Ireland Schools Drama Final following a hardearned victory in the Ulster Final in Letterkenny two weeks ago. Caitlin, Patrick, Niamh and Torin The Killyclogher school competed against 22 other primary and secondary schools at the An Grianán Theatre, and narrowly missed out on being crowned overall Ulster Champions with only one point separating the top three schools – an incredible achievement, especially given that the school was established just eight years ago, with only six pupils! The school play, entitled ‘Something Inside so Strong’ was written and produced by school vice-principal Risteard Mac Daibhéid and depicts an eviction in post famine Ireland and the effects that it had on families and on entire communities. The school has cemented its growing reputation for excellence in drama with what the highly acclaimed adjudicator, Paul Mc Avinchey, described as ‘a faultless production from start to finish in what was a hugely powerful and emotive play with top quality acting by such young children. I was completely mesmerised from beginning to end.’ Commenting on the upcoming All-Ireland the school Principal and the play’s music coordinator, Deirdre Uí Cheallaigh summed

up the buzz around the school: “The children were phenomenal in the Ulster Final and have completely earned their place in the All Ireland. It is an honour and a privilege for Gaelscoil na gCrann to be representing not only Tyrone but also Ulster this year in this, in one of the most prestigious drama competitions on the island. The children have to be given great credit for all their hard work, drive and commitment and their success is a fitting reward. Regardless of what happens in the final every single one of our children can hold their heads high.” She concluded by thanking Risteard, the school’s musical director Brian Mac Daibhéid and choreographer Alison McElhatton.

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Ultra-chic client experience at Couture Hair’s new premises HAVING gone from strength to strength since they first opened in Omagh in 2009, it’s the beginning of a new era for hairstylist Emma Finlay and her team at Couture Hair as they welcome the first clients to their brand new premises, located at 33A Market Street (within Supervalu car park). The salon has already racked up an impressive series of hair and beauty awards and its reputation

for delivering cutting-edge style coupled with excellent customer service has already cemented Couture Hair as one of this area’s most in-demand salons, prompting a move to more spacious surroundings. The new salon focuses strongly on the client experience, with ultrachic styling combining modern with vintage and making it a luxurious space to spend some time while you are preened and pampered by the experts! Couture Hair specializes in gentle, ammonia-free hair colouring using L’Oreal’s Inoa, that gives amazing results whilst protecting your hair

from damage. The artistic team including Emma herself as well as stylists Dearbhla McGarrity, Del Loughran, Paula McDermott, Jennifer Howard, Bronagh Sludden, Joanne Mullen and Claire Morris all omaghtoday | 16

have experience in the very latest cutting and styling techniques – so whatever your vision, or even if you need a little guidance, your tresses will be safe in their hands! Proof of this can be found in the numerous competitions and awards the salon has received since its opening – most recently stylist Del Loughran travelled to the All Ireland Hairdressing Championships in Belfast, where she placed first in the senior blowdry, first in colour, first in full fashion, second in colour creation and second overall in the ladies’ championship – an amazing performance! The salon uses luxurious styling products by Label M to create the finished look – and it doesn’t stop there; as well as hair styling Couture Hair has also developed a comprehensive beauty service via

the Beauty Bar. Using products by the world renowned MAC cosmetics, clients can avail of a complete hair and beauty package including eyelashes for just £35 – perfect for a big night out, a wedding or another special occasion. And for some extra pampering, why not treat yourself and three or more friends to the Beauty Bar experience, complete with wine and nibbles – a perfect girly treat for a birthday or hen party. The new salon now avails of ample car parking right outside the door for extra convenience, and is open every Monday including Easter Monday and Tuesday. Normal opening hours are Mon & Wed 9.30am-5.30pm; Tuesday 9.30am7pm; Thursday 9.30-8pm; Friday 9am-8pm and Saturday 8.304.30pm. All major card payments are accepted and gift vouchers are also available.


Testicular cancer Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men aged 15-44, but it can affect men at any age. There are about 2,000 new cases in the UK each year.

 The prognosis for testicular cancer is normally good; it is curable in more than 95% of cases, especially when it is detected early. In order to do this, though, men should be aware of what is ‘normal’ for their own bodies and be alert to any changes or abnormalities in their testicles. You are at increased risk of testicular cancer if your brother or father has been diagnosed with it in the past. You have a significantly higher risk if you were diagnosed with an undescended testicle (where the testicle remains in the abdomen instead of coming down into the scrotum) as an infant, especially if you did not have this surgically corrected.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, the first symptom noticed is a lump that develops on one testicle. The lump is often painless but some people notice some pain or discomfort coming from the affected testis. Sometimes there is general swelling in the testis; a testicle can suddenly seem much bigger or smaller than normal, or may feel very hard. Most swellings and lumps in the scrotum are not due to cancer – there are various other causes, such as infections and cysts. However, you should always tell a doctor if you discover a swelling or lump in one of your testes and get checked out as soon as possible. Waiting and hoping is very unlikely to fix anything!

How to self-examine

All men aged 14 and up should aim to check their testicles once a month. This is best done after a bath or shower when the skin is warm and relaxed. The testes hang down behind the penis; they feel like soft, smooth balls inside the scrotum. It is normal for one to be slightly bigger than the other. At the top and to

the back of each testicle is the epididymis, which is where the sperm is stored. This feels like a soft swelling and can be tender when you press it firmly. Leading from the epididymis is a soft tube called the vas deferens. Becoming familiar with these structures will help you to know if there are any unusual changes in your testicles. To check your testicles, use both hands for each. Roll the testicle gently between your thumbs and fingers, feeling across its surface for any lumps, swelling or tenderness. Lumps may be as small as a grain of rice or a pea. Look for any changes in the overall size, shape or weight of each testicle. If you find anything that concerns you, contact your GP. He or she will be able to rule out cancer, or refer you for further tests.

How is it diagnosed?

Diagnosis of testicular cancer is normally done by ultrasound scan – cold gel will be applied to your scrotum and a probe is used to examine the lump or swelling – and/or using a blood test to pick up ‘markers’ of cancer in your bloodstream. In the unlikely event that cancer is strongly suspected, the normal first course of action is removal of the affected testicle. This will not affect your sex life, your ability to get an erection, or your fertility – the other testicle will continue to produce hormones and sperm. If tests on the removed testicle confirm

that it is cancer, you will be advised to have further checks to ensure the disease has not spread. These tests may include another blood test, an MRI scan, a CT scan or x-rays. If your doctors are not 100% sure that all the cancer has been removed along with the testicle, or if secondary tumours are found, they will discuss treatment options including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Even when testicular cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it normally responds well to treatment and the chances of a cure are good. If your doctors are satisfied that removal of the testicle is sufficient, you may still be required to have follow up treatment including scans, x-rays and blood tests to make sure it has not come back. For more information visit www.everyman-campaign.org

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 | 18


Strictly Kids Dancing for Care for Cancer Even Brucie and Tess Day couldn't have failed to be impressed with the quality of performances displayed when young dancers from around the Omagh District took to the stage at the Mellon Country Hotel for a massive 'Strictly Kids Dancing' fundraiser in aid of Omagh charity, Care For Cancer. The first of its kind in the area, the competition has been months in the planning, with the youngesters practicing faithfully to perfect their dance routines in time for the big night! The evening was a huge success filled with colour, music and enthusiasm not to mention an extremely impressive display of local talent. Top prizes were clinched by Shockerellas, representing Omagh Boys and Girls Club, who scooped the Judges' Award, while the People's Award went to Ruby's Junior Jive Bunnies.

Judges Award winners Shockerellas representing Omagh Boys & People's Award winners were Ruby's Junior Jive Bunnies pictured Girls Club Omagh. Judge Patricia Wilson presents mentor Kirsty with mentor Ruby Rankin, Care For Cancer president, Joan McCausland with the trophy. Also in the photo are fellow judges Hamilton and chairman Ivan Gilmour. Ann McElroy and Tom Sweeney.

Cancer for Care Omagh president Joan Hamilton with chairman Compere Paddy Hunter with Jean Ivan Gilmour, committee member Ann Moore and judges Patricia Wilson, Ann McElroy and Tom Sweeney. McCrystal, one of the sponsors. Cheerleading Panthers.

The Blue Thistle Highland Dancers.

The Black and White Army.

Cliodhna's Dance Academy.

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Charlie

As it was to where it is now No. 86

Charlie Taggart

Emmylou Harris was born on April 2, 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her distinctive voice has graced many recordings by other country artists. Her own recordings cover many strands of music, from traditional country to country rock. On the April 24, 1976 Emmylou Harris’ version of the Buck Owens’ song ‘Together Again’ reached #1 on the country singles Billboard Charts and many successful albums followed. Emmylou’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ CD has just been re-released as double CD and DVD. I bought this album when it was originally released and have not listened to it very much since. The production seems a bit overpowering and I am puzzled why such atmospheric work should receive great reviews from the critics. My favourite Emmylou CD is ‘Pieces OF The Sky’, and the song ‘Hank and Lefty’ from it, one of her best. Emmylou has performed duets with many artists including Don Williams, Mary Black and Johnny Cash and will be back touring Britain in May. The new Johnny Cash release, ‘Out Among the Stars’, is now #1 on the British country music album charts and the quirkiest song on it – in my mind - is track 8, ‘I Drove Her Out of My Mind’. This song is about Johnny driving off the top of Lookout Mountain in his new car. Lookout Mountain, Tennessee has the world’s steepest and safest incline railway, and since November 16th, 1895 it has carried millions of passengers up the 72.7% grade to the top of its historic peak. I think the success of Johnny’s CD holds out the prospect of more releases of archive material in the future. Sony Legacy Recordings - which is releasing ‘Out Among the Stars’ - will remain involved in this type of project as they realise there is a fan-base hungry for future releases with quality content. Johnny’s daughter Rosanne – appearing in London on 30th April - is #4 on the British country music album charts with her album ‘The River and The Thread’. The fourth annual Johnny Cash Music festival will take place on August 15th in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Reba McEntire, Bobby Bare and Loretta Lynn are among the artists scheduled to appear. The event benefits a scholarship fund and the restoration of Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas. The chronicles of country music contain the tragic narratives of many artists whose lives were cut short, from the poignant story of Hank Williams to Johnny Horton who died in a car crash with a drunk driver when he was only 35 years of age. Johnny Horton was born on the 30th April in 1925 in Los Angeles, California. His honky-tonk sound evolved into country music and then later on he recorded many historical songs, including ‘The Battle of New Orleans’, written by Arkansas schoolteacher Jimmy Driftwood and adapted by Johnny. This made him a star and was followed by another hit song ‘North to Alaska’ from the John Wayne movie of the same name. Many artists have recorded Johnny Horton songs including George Jones, Marty Stuart, Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam. omaghtoday | 20

& andY

Graffiti on a school science class wall: “You never find an article until you replace it. But remember the graffiti might be a forgery.

Andy Gordon

And there we are! The day we have been looking forward to for months and months; the day six months ago I promised myself that, no problem, I could shed a stone in four months never mind six, and fit into my ‘wedding’ suit; the day my beautiful young daughter had chosen to take on not only a new name, but a new life with her devoted sweetheart; the day that just kept rumbling, like a runaway express train down the track towards us all - and suddenly it’s all over. Gone in a blink. Confined to history. A note in a comment book at the wedding venue. The decorated rooms? I’m not sure if anyone else even knew they had a fresh lick of paint on them! The new navy blue suit, white shirt, blue tie and red – yes, red - socks? The new brown shoes! To break with the tradition of navy blue suit and black shoes was a daring statement to make, but hey, no one – apart from Dr Maguire - commented on the travesty of my brown shoes. You see, as I kept saying – no one would be looking at me, or the male members of the tribe. No one was interested in what we wore, what we said or what we did. No - the eyes of all eighty people present at the wonderful location of Crom Castle on the shores of Upper Lough Erne were on the most stunning bride I have ever seen. I know, I am somewhat biased, but I will say it again, and again and again – our Jeni was absolutely the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in a bridal gown. Well, that is, except for her mother, my better half, who, some forty years ago, would have given her a close run for the title of ‘Bride of the year’! Yes, she was my baby, my youngest, and my one and only girl, and I gave her away to another man to look after and cherish. And the thing is – I know that he will do that, and more – he not only promised that to Jeni, but also to her three brothers and me, and let me add, none of us were anywhere near a baseball bat! Crom Castle was full of more joy and happiness than I have ever witnessed, with friends and relations travelling from as far afield as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Creggan to toast the bride and groom. Bringing guests to Fermanagh from the mainland and beyond was a bold, but brilliant choice. They marvelled at the hospitality in Enniskillen - especially ‘The Crowe’s Nest’ - as they gathered the night before the wedding, but that was just the beginning. The experience of a wedding ceremony and reception at Crom Castle is unbelievably unique. I can only compare it to seeing the Grand Canyon in America; there is no way you can describe the experience, but you spend the rest of your life trying to do it anyway! What Noel and Norman put together for a couple’s big day goes above and beyond what is expected. From the minute they enter the Castle, the couple and their guests are the most important people in the world. Nothing is too much; no detail too little. It is an experience I would absolutely repeat again, except that I have no more daughters, but maybe, in the future, granddaughters!


Drumquin players take their play over the Pigeon Top

Drumquin Players created some side splitting action last week when they trod the boards at Clanabogan Hall for their performance of ‘A Journey to the Pigeon Top’, written by Dromore’s Pat McDonnell. The play tackled some major issues faced by anyone pondering the view from Omagh’s iconic peak – such as whether to go by Maghereeny or Price’s Shop? Was Clanabogan Hall the original Ballroom of Romance? Can money buy love? A great evening’s entertainment was had by all.

St. Dympna's Drama group back on the boards

St Dympna’s Drama Group took to the stage at St Patrick’s Hall in Dromore at the weekend for the premiere of their production of Bernard Farrell’s ‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’. The classic play was safe in the hands of Seamus McNabb, a veteran of the drama scene locally, and was thoroughly enjoyed by audiences on both nights. The play will now open at the Strule Arts Centre.

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

Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email ads@omaghtoday.com or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078

omaghtoday | 21


IN THE

HOTSEAT! Mark Smyth

Taking the Hot Seat this issue we have Galway native Mark Smyth, who can be found daily on the courts of Omagh Lawn Tennis Club! Mark moved to Omagh just over a year ago to take up a position as the club’s full-time coach and from the smallest juniors right up to veterans he’s made it his mission to produce a crop of winners in Omagh – he even has his eye on a grand slam title! As well as being a keen tennis player himself, Mark’s a fan of Manchester United…and cheesy Saturday night TV! 1. Name Mark Smyth 2. Occupation Tennis Coach 3. Last book you read? Jose Mourinho’s biography by Patrick Barclay.

greatly. Ulster and all the other provinces have yet to produce a potential grand slam winner in tennis. There’s a better chance of producing world class athletes if the facilities are better. 6. What’s your favourite film of all time? I have a number so it’s pretty tough to choose just one. I would say perhaps Schindler’s List. 7. What’s your guilty pleasure? I would say occasionally watching silly ‘talent’ shows like X Factor and The Voice. 8. What’s your most annoying/disgusting habit? Probably leaving clothes lying on the floor and not putting them on a hanger or in the drawer.

4. What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up? I have a shower to wake myself up.

9. If you could choose your own epitaph, what would it be? Not sure haven’t got around to thinking about it just yet. Give me a few years and I will have found the right words that would encapsulate me.

5. If you won the lottery, what’s the very first thing you would buy? I would say a few indoor tennis courts. Surprisingly it isn’t always hot and sunny in Omagh so having a few indoor courts would help

10. Who would your five fantasy dinner party guests be? I would say Roy Keane, George Hook, Jose Mourinho, Sabine Lisicki and Nick Bollettieri. They are all living, so it would be easier to get them to have dinner with me!

Clanabogan Parish Bowling Club celebration night

New Cup: Billy Beattie presents the Charlie and Lilly Beattie Memorial Cup to Hazel McKelvey, Jean Ross and Jim Thompson.

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Legamaghery school re union

Above: Canon Patrick Marron with Catherine McDermott, Maggie McCarroll and Peter McKenna who were presented with framed copies of the school roll book with their names. The presentation took place at the Legamaghery School reunion which took place in Fintona Golf Club and was attended by many past pupils and friends. The school closed in 1969.

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Miss Spring into

THERE was glitz, there was glamour, there was style in spades as local photographer Hannah McKeown hosted her ‘Miss Spring into Summer’ modelling competition at Kelly’s Inn on April 6, with proceeds going to the MS Society. Hannah, whose mum suffers from MS, pulled out all the stops to organize an extremely professional event showcasing some of the hottest modelling talents both locally and from across Northern Ireland. Entrants enjoyed top facilities including full hair and make-up laid on for

the day as they competed across several categories, including partywear, eveningwear and swimwear. Judges for the events were former Miss British Empire Samantha Gallagher; Orla Mullin from Omagh’s Loft Bridal; hairdresser James Britton, and beauty therapist/make-up artist Amanda Mitchell. Girls were judged on a variety of points, from the way they came across in a short interview to how they worked the catwalk and also their natural poise and grace. Overall winner of the competition was

Style Queen Chloe celebrates Left: Birthday girl Chloe Keys with her parents Colin and June at her 18th birthday bash in Charlie's Bar on Saturday night.

Chloe Keys who celebrated her 18th with a birthday bash in Charlie's Bar in Saturday night pictured with her sisters, Coleen, Dianne and Michelle and brother Colin.

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Summer competition

Dungannon’s Maria Diouf, originally from Portugal, while Orlaith McKenna from Omagh and Casey Donnelly from Tempo were first and second runners-up respectively. Best formal wear went to Laura Gormley from Omagh, best partywear went to Erin Reilly from Fermanagh and the swimwear crown was clinched by Gemma Carmichael who travelled all the way from Belfast for the competition. Winner Maria scooped the top prize of a portfolio shoot with Hannah, including hair, make-up and wardrobe from

Loft Bridal, plus ten portfolio prints to keep and a modeling contract with LSH Modelling, Belfast, and a ton of other treats including shoes fro Sobelle, flowers from Floral Temptations and jewellery. Hannah’s next competition is also in conjunction with Loft Bridal – an uber-cool shoot in Portugal!! Wannabe models are encouraged to get their entries in now – full details can be found on the Hannah McKeown Photography Facebook page.

her 18th in style in Charlie's

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U P C O M I N G

E N T E R T A I N M E N T . . .

Friday 18th april

O v er 1 8 s - A D M . £ 5 b e f ore 1 1 . 3 0 pm , £ 7 a f ter . open 1 0 pm

dj shai

DJ Mike McKee £2.50 drinks

P h oto I D E s s entia l - P a s s port or DL O N LY

P h oto I D E s s entia l - P a s s port or DL O N LY

All drinks £2.50 B4 12am

Saturday 26th April

Friday 25th april

O v er 1 8 s - A d m . £ 5 . Door s open 1 0 pm

O v er 1 8 s - A D M . £ 5 b e f ore 1 1 . 3 0 pm , £ 7 a f ter . open 1 0 pm

dj shai

DJ Ryan Gallagher

P h oto I D E s s entia l - P a s s port or DL O N LY

omaghtoday | 26

Saturday 19th april

O v er 1 8 s - A d m . £ 5 . Door s open 1 0 pm

£2.50 drinks

P h oto I D E s s entia l - P a s s port or DL O N LY

All drinks £2.50 B4 12am


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omaghtoday | 27


Hanging banner, M&S.

Extra thick filled chocolate egg, Hotel Chocolat.

Whether it’s yummy chocolate treats or sweet pastel accents for the home, Easter is the perfect excuse to indulge… Hens pottery collection, M&S.

Rustic Easter wreath, Gisela Graham.

Herbie the chocolate hedgehog, Tesco.

Giant 1kg Lindt gold bunny, Asda.

Bunny jumper, Asda.

Bunny cupcake kit, Dunnes.

Pore perfect Beside the sea We are loving the new collection by homegrown UK surf brand Brakeburn, now in store at She! The range features lots of cute casuals, perfect for the golf course, the gym or simply just relaxing in style at the weekends. Inspired by life at the coast, expect lots of fresh blues and whites with nautical detailing and the sweetest prints – we adore this anchor-print t-shirt, perfect with white capris!

Last issue we brought you a hot beauty tip in the form of Birchbox…and having sampled the contents of the March box we simply had to report back on a product that’s definitely got the Ella seal of approval! Dr Brandt’s ‘Pores No More’ is a treatment and concealer in one for enlarged pores and oily skin – perfect for use on the t-zone where open pores, blackheads and shine can be a problem. The medicated formula tightens pores and calms inflammation while the ultra-fine cream-to-powder cream absorbs excess oil, leaving skin with a flawless, ‘photoshopped’ finish! We love it and we’re dying to try out the other products in the Pores No More range…

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 All that glitters

Colour me right! There are many types of hair colouring methods and types of colour. What you choose is reflected on your hair, your personality and the longevity of colour you require. Here's a few types that you might be considering and a little info on them. Highlights and lowlights Highlighting involves the use of a bleaching (or oxidizing) agent. This used to be done by bleaching small strands of hair after pulling them through a cap pierced with holes. However, bleach had a greater tendency to seep through the holes and burn your scalp. The modern method (foiling) involves carefully weaving strands of hair, then applying the bleach and wrapping the hairs in foil. Highlights and lowlights are an effective way of blending grey hair or giving your hair a sun-streaked, natural look. It is also a safer colouring method than having a whole head of bleach, and is often less damaging because highlights only involve a portion of your hair being processed. Highlights also tend to last longer and need to be applied less often as root regrowth is more subtle. Temporary colour Temporary, or semi-permanent, colours penetrate your hair’s outer cuticle and are allowed into the cortex. They last for about six weeks and tend to fade progressively. As temporary colours don’t contain bleach, they cannot lighten your natural shade. Semipermanent colours give you a more natural colour than washout or 'veg' colour dyes, and are also easier to use. You can use semi-permanent dyes straight from the applicator as they don’t have to be pre-mixed. Furthermore, as temporary colours are not permanent, they will eventually wash out if you are unhappy with the colour. The main disadvantage with temporary dyes is that they fade with shampooing and exposure to air. This means they need to be frequently reapplied, which can be damaging. Also due to frequent overlapping, temporary dyes can leave you with darker ends and lighter roots. Permanent dyes Permanent dyes are also known as ‘oxidation’. This is because an oxidizer (such as hydrogen peroxide) and ammonia are mixed with the colouring agent before application. The formulation of permanent dyes is very complicated, and manufacturers go to great lengths to attain long-lasting colour that does minimal damage to the strength and elasticity of your hair. Permanent dyes don’t have to be applied as often as semipermanent or temporary colours. There is a wider range of permanent colour, and these colour shades are often more natural-looking, although they can be more damaging to your hair than semi-permanent or temporary dyes because the chemicals used are stronger and the mixture usually has to be left on for a longer period of time. Permanent dyes can’t be washed out if you’re unhappy with the colour. They can also cause allergic reactions. Caring for colour treated hair All chemical processes reduce the elasticity of your hair and increase its chances of breakage. Therefore, any hair that has been dyed/coloured is vulnerable to damage. However, the degree of damage that occurs largely depends on the amount of colour change. For instance, going from a dark shade to a light shade is more damaging because the colouring (bleaching) agent is stronger and/or left on for longer. How often you colour your hair is also a factor to consider. Having your hair coloured in a salon will most probably involve some sort of conditioning treatment, but if you colour your hair at home make sure you have a good conditioner handy. Choose a well-formulated conditioner designed specifically for your hair type to keep your hair both feeling and looking great after colouring. You should also use a conditioning treatment at least once a week, depending on the condition of your hair. Please note: always leave three days before and also after your colouring process to use an intensive conditioning treatment - they have the ability to fade your colour if done too soon. However, this does not apply to highlights or bleach without tint; a treatment can be done at any stage.

FLIPPIN’ Gwyneth Paltrow. I used to feel a sort of affinity with her; us having husbands with the same name and all – but after she announced on her blog that she and Chris Martin were ‘consciously uncoupling’, my bubble officially burst. I mean, I know her Chris and mine have very different pay packets. She’s living a life of luxury and I’m wittering on about my Sudocrem French manicures. But I always had this idea – based on absolutely nothing other than my own surmisings – that the Paltrow/Martins were a fairly ordinary couple. Gwynnie’s been pretty forthcoming in the past about the need to work at wedded bliss, especially when you’re famous, and her tips on how to keep the ‘spark’ alive. I read once that she lived by an insight her father had given her into the longevity of his marriage to Blythe Danner; he told her the secret was that they had never both wanted a divorce at the same time, and I thought it was refreshing to hear about a ‘real’ marriage where it’s not all hearts and flowers 24/7. I cherry-picked from Gwyneth’s other advice, of course – like, I ignored the part where she advised us to come at our husbands with a very specific type of – ahem – ‘love’ when they are in a bad mood. OK, so all that macrobiotic diet carry-on is a bit tedious. And yeah, their kids have really weird names. But mostly, I thought Gwyneth and Chris seemed like the nearest thing to normal we were ever going to get from a Hollywood marriage. They seemed like pretty hands-on parents, too; they were photographed on holiday with their children several times, which by showbiz standards must have put them in line for some sort of parenting awards, the norm being to leave the little darlings at home with the nanny while you top up your tan in St Barts. Now, as I say, this assumption was based on pretty much just my own notions and whatever I read about this pair in the Daily Fail. But if I was a frequenter of Gwyneth’s lifestyle blog, GOOP, I think I might have had a different opinion – and now that the pair have split, it’s all coming out in the wash. Like, how she was obsessed with Kabbalah (I don’t really know what this means, and don’t care enough to Google) and didn’t want her kids to eat junk food, ever. Turns out that even a kid called Apple will want to eat biscuits – so Gwyneth compromised by letting them eat rubbish on days out and capitulating to a ‘Coke of the week’ whilst telling anyone who would listen how much they love houmous and nuts. Meanwhile Dad was pictured letting them stuff their faces with ice-cream every time her back was turned – rock 'n' roll! And she wouldn’t let them watch TV in English; the poor mites had to watch Spanish and French cartoons which, in my limited experience, is tantamount to child abuse. She waxed lyrical about how she would stock up on DVDs whenever the family were in France – then went on to complain about how hard she has it because when you’re a movie star you might have to go on location for two weeks and leave an army of staff tending to your offspring’s every need, while anticipating your multi-million pound pay cheque. An office job, she reckoned, would make her job as a mother much simpler. Gah. And as if that wasn’t enough to alienate every other woman on the planet, then she comes out with this ‘conscious uncoupling’ nonsense. No regular split for these two, oh no; it would have to be the most holistic and amicable break-up in the history of ever. Rumour had it Chris gave Gwyn a painting of a bird to represent this new phase in their relationship before they headed off on holiday together…but not together. Clear as mud for Apple and Moses, I’d say. There’s been an avalanche of stories since about her flirting with other men, him having affairs – even rumours that they had an open marriage. It’s ironic really, that after years of making everyone feel a little bit inadequate, Gwyneth would be the one to make us all realize that all that glitters isn’t gold. omaghtoday | 29


Jamb ree PARK in the

THE ORIGINAL

ACTS NOT TO MISS From the tender age of 12 Derek had music in him but in 2009 Derek entered the world of country music. He has taken country fans by storm packing out dance halls right across Ireland and the UK. Derek is always a big hit at the Ecclesville Centre and the crowds are sure to travel to see him this May Bank Holiday weekend. DEREK RYAN

MIKE DENVER

JIMMY BUCKLEY

LISA McHUGH

THE LOGUES

Mike’s first gig with a full band was in 2003 and since then he has grown from strength to strength within the country music industry. Mike has recently released his new single “Tommy K” which he is sure to be given a blast at the Jamboree! Known to be one of Ireland’s top entertainers, he continues to expand his fan base with his dances nearly always a sell out! Jimmy is well known for the hit “Here Comes My Baby” and is sure to be rocking Ecclesville with it on Friday 3rd May. Ireland’s sweetheart of country music has taken country music by storm. Lisa has recently completed a very successful UK tour and is now back home touring the local circuit. She is well known for the hit “Why’d you come in here” which is sure to delight Sunday night’s audience. Tyrone’s own folk rock band have become one of Ireland’s most sought-after live bands. The band formed in 2006 for a one of gig and since then is playing on a regular basis throughout Ireland and are fresh back from their sell out tour in Dubai. The Logues will be making a very welcome return on Sunday 4th May when you can enjoy your own pint to their top hit “Price of a Pint”

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With Chloe Kerr

The icon is back! AFTER a three-year hiatus, Kate Moss is launching her new collection with Topshop at the end of the month with a preview in this month’s issue of Vogue. But has she lost her touch after three years, or is she still the queen of fashion? Seven years after her first collection, Moss for Topshop is back, but with a difference. Queen Moss has turned her back on making her collections fall in with current trends as she had previously done; instead this is a Kate Moss wardrobe. The references are to Kate’s own personal style and her style heroines - seasonal trends are ignored. In fact, the silver fringed jacket she wears on the cover of Vogue is a recreation of a beloved jacket that she lost, and a white kaftan in her collection is a reproduction of one of her vintage summer favourites. While she has upped her game in the style stakes to “make sure every piece really special” this has meant that the prices have also been upped. The basic cotton vests from her initial collections have been ditched and been replaced with high quality fabrics and dense embellishment – and this is reflected in the prices, which are undoubtedly more than the average Topshop customer would spend. In fact, the most expensive piece from the collection is a £600 dress, with only 50 available. The Kate Moss era you find most fascinating will probably influence your favourite piece in the collection. Not surprisingly, Kate has nailed the party-dress section of her collection, and now as a 40 year old she can see the appeal of a non-teeny tiny short cocktail dress, and has designed some different options - crop tops, high waisted wide legged trousers and some stunning maxi dresses. It is interesting to look at the mood boards for the collection, lots of pictures of Kate at parties and on dates but very few of her modelling days. This is a mood board of Kate as Kate herself, as well as her style icons on the board, which include Greta Garbo, Jane Birkin, Michelle Pfeiffer and Marianne Faithful. Has Moss run her course in fashion? Is a fashion line based on her too much? Has Philip Green overindulged in her penchant for 70s bohemia? The collection has too much fringing and asymmetric hemming for my taste; you wouldn’t be able to wait at the bus stop wearing this collection from head to toe. However it would be perfect for buying a few statement pieces from to rock your inner Kate Moss. The true mark of a celebrity fashion collection is whether it is genuine to them and for this, Kate’s collection is top of the class! The collection will be available online and in-store at Topshop, as well as Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com and Neta-porter.com for the first time from April 30.

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Enjoy the refreshing now at McGirr's SPAR, ANDERSON GARDENS/TOWNVIEW Omagh.

Oodles of taste . . . . less fat As Northern Ireland prepares to host the iconic Giro de Italia cycling event, Italian fever is slowly gaining a hold across the province – and Omagh is no exception! At McGirr’s Spar, Anderson Gardens, you can now get your very own taste of Italy – and we don’t mean pasta! Italian Gelato is one of the country’s best loved treats, and now McGirrs has become one of the first outlets to stock gelato made by Quinn’s of Cookstown. Gelato is a type of frozen dessert similar to icecream but with 40% less fat and much less air whipped in, so it has a much higher density and

a much more intense and delicious flavour! Quinns produce a staggering 40 flavours of gelato, from lemon to chocolate, Red Bull to Maltesers – so there’s something for everyone. Commenting on the new addition to the deli counter at McGirr’s, Jim McGirr said: “We felt it is a natural follow on or progression from our successful and ever expanding ‘food to go’ and deli, which offers everything from sandwich fillers to salad boxes, all freshly made in store each day. Homemade muffins are a particular favourite and we are sure that our new Italian Gelato will be a big hit this spring and summer!”

New Cardinal launches website

Archbishop Dr Eamon Martin pictured with representatives of schools and parishes across the diocese of Armagh at the launch of a new website aimed at providing information for young men who may be interested in joining the priesthood. www.armaghpriest. com.

Fintona Marquee Weekend

On Fri 4th, Sat 5th, and Sun 6th July Preparations are beginning Fintona's eagerly awaited Marquee Weekend of entertainment, which will get underway on Friday, July 4 with Big Fight Night. There will be 12 bouts of boxing with a mix of local men and women taking part. On Saturday night there's A Night at the Races with best dressed ladies being the highlight of the evening. Food on the evening includes pig on the spit and a glass of wine. With an early start on Sunday, the organisers are hosting the Inaugural Marquee 100 Bike Tour, and are hoping for a good turn out from many cyclists. Fintona Cycling Club was one of the first cycling clubs formed within Tyrone with thanks to the McElhatton family, especially Patsy who was the driving force behind the club. With support and involvement from other local characters Mickey Donnelly, Jimmy McDonagh, Gerard McDonagh,

Robert Donaldson, Thomas McQuaid and Jimmy Gibson, the club flourished in its time. Registration for the Bike Tour will take place on Wednesday 30th April at 7.30pm in The Nags Inn, so all you cyclists please come along and sign on. Our annual Truck Run takes place on Sunday afternoon. All lorries and vintage cars welcomed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been instrumental in making this weekend a success in the past years. Your continuous support and generous donations have been overwhelming and have had very positive impacts on so many people’s lives. This year all proceeds are going to Fintona Restoration Fund, Inspire, and Fintona Medical Centre. As the time nears, further event details will emerge so watch this space and follow us on Facebook - TheNag’s Inn MarqueeWeekend. omaghtoday | 33


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

I do not like thee,

Dr Fell!

Strule Arts Centre, April 24 & 25, 8pm, £9. Presented by St Dympna’s Drama Society, one of the most established groups on the drama circuit in Ireland, ‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’ by Bernard Farrell is one of the best loved plays on the Irish stage. It was Farrell's first play and premiered in 1979, featuring Liam Neeson. It is based on a self-help session where a group of disparate individuals gather for ‘therapy’, some for the first time and others who make a hobby out of it. Gradually relationships of different natures develop and the mercurial leader, Suzie, feels that her ‘relax, relate, communicate’ philosophies are working.... until Dr Fell gets into action! What follows is a mixture of high comedy and emotion. One critic said: "You should emerge from this play more confused than when you entered, but still feeling thoroughly entertained!” A great night's entertainment is guaranteed.

Jamboree in the Park

Ecclesville Centre, May 2-4, 7pm nightly, tickets from £15 One of Ireland’s biggest indoor country music festivals returns over the May bank holiday weekend with music from some of the biggest names on the scene and tickets already flying out the door! Jimmy Buckley, Derek Ryan, Lisa McHugh, Jim Devine, Mike Denver and Ritchie Remo are just some of the names who’ll grace the stage at Ecclesville, with thousands of fans from all over Ireland expected to descend on Fintona once again. Entry to this event is limited to strictly over 18s only; tickets are £15 or £20 for VIP access and £35 for a full weekend pass. Visit www.ajspromotions.com to buy or call 028 8284 0200.

Movie Magic: The Smurfs 2 Strule Arts Centre, April 26, 11.30am, £3.

More family movie magic – and in this sequel to the action/ animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the allpowerful, magical Smurf-essence. But he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs. Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties - or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue? 2013; Cert: U; Run Time: 105 minutes. Family concessions available. omaghtoday | 34

19th April Beragh Red Knights 5 mile/5k race. Proceeds in aid of Care for Cancer. Race starts at 12 noon, St Mary’s Football field. 19th April Cake Sale, Coffee Morning and craft fair, Holy Trinity Church, Dromore, 10am to 4pm. Adults £2/Children £1 (includes refreshments). 20th April “Cupid Wore Skirts” by the Fintona Amateur Dramatic Society, St Patrick’s Hall, Fintona. Doors open 7.30pm and the play starts at 8.30pm. Adults £7. Children £3. 20th April Drumquin Cycling Club Leisure Cycle, leaving from Drumquin Social Centre. 35 miles or 50 miles. Registration from 9am to 10am. Cycle begins at 10am. £10 per person or £15 family. 20th April Launch Night for the annual Drumquin to Lough Derg Walk, taking place on May 24. Drumquin Clubrooms, 8pm, refreshments served. 21st April Big Family Picnic at An Creggan. Great day of outdoor fun for all the family. 12 to 4pm. Free admission – bring your own picnic or join the Mad Hatters Tea Party. For further info tel.028 8076 1112 21st April The Flaxmill Centre, Drumduff hosts a traditional fun day with activities for the whole family – egg hunt, egg painting , bonnet competition and loads more…… 22nd April Take Me Out, Mantis. All proceeds are for the Philippines Typhoon Appeal. 25th April Variety Concert, Drumquin local Youth Centre, 8pm. Refreshments provided. 25th April Gareth Pritchard and his Country Band, Drummond Cricket Club, Limavady, 8pm to 11pm. 27th April Altamuskin Cycle; 30 and 60 mile routes. 27th April Old School House, Greencastle - Sperrin Wheelers are holding a cycle to raise much needed funds for Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children. 50 mile starting at 9.30am, 25 mile starting at 9.45am, 15 mile starting at 10am and 3 mile route (junior or children run) starting at 10.30am. £10 entry. 27th April Mr & Mrs – St Eugene’s Hall. Strictly over 18 27th April Gortin Glens Forest Park, Bootcamp Assault Course Madness - all proceeds to go to Pancreatic Cancer UK. 1pm, all ages welcome. 27th/28th April “Farmer Joe and his John Deere Tractor”, Armagh City Hotel. Bus available from Omagh on the 27th. Tickets £12.50 available from Jeans Country Music Store.


SUMMER PROGRAMME REVEALED AT STRULE! Strule Arts Centre have launched their most exciting programme to date, with an array of theatre, music, festivals, comedy, film, workshops and exhibitions! The staff and management are proud to present the new 2014 Programme, which offers something for everyone keeping you entertained throughout the summer.

acts, Green Shot Production presents ‘Flesh and Blood Women’, an emotive play about three women who were outcast in the 1970’s. Terry Mc Hugh will also be performing in the comedy stand up ‘Reservoir Dad’, a hilarious show taking you through his irrational childhood fears that have followed him into adulthood.

Join us in welcoming the longer evenings and brighter days with our very first food festival, ‘Taste in the West’. Celebrating the best in local food products and services, we are honored to be working with esteemed chef Jenny Bristow. Over the two day event there will be demonstrations to suit all ages as well as trade stands showcasing local food products and services. Keeping in the festival spirit, Strule Arts Centre also presents ‘Strule’s Children’s Festival’ a four day extravaganza with everything from ballet workshops to productions of classic tales such as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and ‘The Jungle Book’.

We have a great line up of music, comedy and theatre and a great programme of workshops too in this 2014 Summer Programme. Taking place in Strule Arts Centre are a great range of workshops aimed at adults, teenagers and children such as Pottery Workshop, Summer Street Art and Beginners Sewing Machine class. In the Gallery, there’s also a fantastic presentation of exhibitions such as Omagh Quilters Guild and ‘Images of Ulster’ by Strule Arts Centre in collaboration with four print studios in Ulster.

Also in May will be a feast of music from Folk to Irish Traditional, Blues, Old-Time American and Bluegrass. Featured are bands such as ‘The Henry Girls’ and award winning quartet ‘We Banjo 3’. For dramatic

Since the launch of the new programme tickets are selling fast! For more information and the full programme of events please go to our website www.struleartscentre.co.uk or visit our Facebook page facebook.com/ struleartscentre

UPCOMING EVENTS Performances ‘I do not like thee, Dr Fell’ St.Dympna’s Drama Society (Dromore) Thursday 24 and Friday 25 April @ 8pm £9 An Evening with Tommy Fleming TF Productions presents Saturday 26 April @ 8pm £23

17 Apr - 01 May 2014 Jenny Cooking with Primary Schools & Mothers and Toddlers Friday 02 May 10.15am FREE Jenny Cooking with Post Primary Schools Friday 02 May 1pm FREE

Oiche Dhramaiochta - Irish Drama Night Omagh District Council Irish Language Unit Presents Wednesday 30 April @ 7.30pm £2

Gallery Arts and Disability Forum present ‘Selected’ Exhibition Saturday 05 - Wednesday 30 April @ 10am - 5.30pm

The Henry Girls Word of Mouth Agency presents Saturday 03 May @ 8pm £12/ Con £10

Workshops Portrait Club Wednesdays 07 – 28 May @ 11am – 1pm £5 per Class

FESTIVAL Taste in the West - Food Festival Shop Local: Trade Stands Local Produce Thursday 01 & Friday 02 May

Films The Princess and The Frog Saturday 19 April @ 11.30am Tickets £3 / Special Family Ticket: 1 Adult and 3 Children £10

Cooking with Jenny Bristow Thursday 01 May @ 7.30pm £7

The Smurfs 2 Saturday 26 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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St. Dympna’s P. S. Dromore Coffee Morning St. Dympna's P.S., Dromore held a coffee morning last Thursday to raise funds for Trocaire. After the enjoyable morning and draw a total of £1006.74 was presented to the charity which will help those living in difficult conditions in Malawi. Draw winners from the Coffee Morning Coffee morning organisers Paula McAleer, Draw are: Aoife Colton - Easter Delores Gallagher, Elizabeth McNulty and Aoife Hamper, Ceala Teague - Easter Egg, McAnespie with Calum, Eireann, Joshua and Oisin. Oisin Hughes - Tin of Roses, Charlie

Angela Maguire, Roisin Ewing St. Dympna's students pose for Omagh Today. and Maria Donnelly.

Gilmour - Crocheted Blanket, James McShane - Easter Egg, Mary Corrigan - Easter Egg, Kevin McGrade - Milk Tray Chocolates, Mary Ward - Easter Cake, Jimmy McGale - Easter Egg, Eoin Donnelly - Tin of Biscuits and Kathleen McAleer - Wine.

Kathleen McAleer, centre, with teachers Claire Maguire and Susan Haughey.

Supporters from St. John's College Fr. Patrick MacEntee, P. P. and Canon Tom lending their support. Breen, P. E. with parishioners.

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OMAGH YESTERDAY

Images of Omagh & District from times past...

Linda and Lesley Caldwell at a chamber Just one of the photos which will be on display at the Lisnacrieve School re union which dinner in the Royal Arms Hotel many will take place in Fintona Golf Club on Saturday, 26th April. Pictured is the 1961 school years ago. photo, the final year for the school closed. Tel 07760105023 for tickets and details.

Above left: The young Loughmacrory P. S. team with their teacher Seamus Mullin after competing in the Paddy Bogan tournament in Beragh. The lads are now in their mid thirties. Above: Eskra panto team from the late eighties. Left: Omagh's Noelle McCaffrey pictured with Bagatelle in St. Enda's Social Club over a quarter of a century ago. Below left: Up in the balcony in the Royal Arms Hotel at the Tech formal in autumn 1988. Below: Fintona's most famous footballing son, . . . . no not Kevin McCloughan, Gerry Armstrong, signs a young McCloughan's arm.

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Exciting times ahead for The Voice’s Jim Devine

Exciting times are ahead for country singer Jim Devine. A native of Victoria Bridge, Jim has already made a name for himself on the island of Ireland as a finalist on the RTE show the Voice. The local crooner may not have claimed the title despite the best efforts of Westlife’s Kian Egan, but found the whole experience a great stepping stone to the professional scene. Just last week Jim released his debut album ‘Devine Country’ with a massive night at the Greenvale in Cookstown and has another night planned for Easter Monday in Navan. The album with hits such as ‘Leighann Loves to Dance’, ‘Saw You Running’ and ‘Blink of an Eye’ is already selling well and there’s plenty of airplay and plenty of talk about the talented Tyrone man. The voice may have launched his career but Jim is hard working too, he has been flat out with his band tramping the roads heading to gigs up and down the country and to be fair, getting rave reviews. One of the new faces on the scene in relative terms, Jim is fast becoming one of the new ‘chosen generation’ of new talent that is shaking the music scene to its foundations. "It put me on the map," he says. "I got loads of support and I've really enjoyed it. I've taken my time launching my career and finding the right management. Now I'm raring to go." Jim grew up on a farm, where he still works in his spare time. He says: "Farming is second nature to me and there's nothing more country than being from a farm, but singing is my main occupation. I grew up listening to country music in the home and I was inspired by Irish singers like John Hogan. And I really love American country artists like Alan Jackson and Collin Raye.” Before rising to fame on The Voice of Ireland, Jim gave the X Factor a shot and got as far as bootcamp. "It's not that I'm hungry for reality TV shows, but when you come from a small village you have to find opportunities to show people what you can do," he points out. Jim will be on the bill for the forthcoming Jamboree in the Park at Ecclesville next month.

in Fintona. The weekend of May 2nd, 3rd and 4th will once again see thousands converge on the Tyrone venue which has certainly become a mecca for country music fans - and once again 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 Shortt of AJS Promotions has already been delighted with the response of country fans, many of whom have already snapped up the VIP tickets for the entire weekend. "It has been great so far and music fans from all over the country will be in for a real treat 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 Johnny 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 that is the Jamboree at 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 - what a line up; and already, says Andrew, the tickets are literally flying out the door,

Jamboree countdown is on!

Talking about the Jamboree and the countdown is well and truly on. The Princess of new Irish country Lisa McHugh will join Jimmy Buckley and Derek Ryan as the headline acts for next month’s returning Jamboree in the Park at the Ecclesville centre

Photos: Ed Winters

Relaxing at Mountfield vintage rally on Sunday

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u n o d R

OU know that feeling you get when you watch a clip of an old TV show like Danger Mouse or Rainbow? Or when you eat Astro Belts out of a paper bag? Well that’s the kind of feeling you get when you read Omagh man Ciaran Ward’s first book, ‘In Complete Circles’ – an irreverent, laugh-out-loud, nostalgia-laden memoir/travelogue that takes a hilarious journey down memory lane with an ‘ageing Omagh schoolboy’. If you went to school in Omagh during the 80s or 90s, chances are you’ve already forgotten the running jokes, the immature pranks, even the regular haunts of your schooldays – but in his book, Ciaran demonstrates his ability to resurrect them in glorious, albeit slightly surreal, technicolour. The nicknames we gave to our teachers, the tactics they employed to keep us in check after corporal punishment in schools was outlawed, the staggering lengths we went to as teenagers in order to appear ‘cool’, the way a minor after-school skirmish could be elevated to the dizzy heights of an all-out brawl via the magic of Chinese whispers – it’s all here, conjured up as if by magic by a talented storyteller with the memory of an elephant. Originally from Killybrack, Ciaran studied Law & French at Queen’s University followed by a postgrad in Information Management at Sheffield University, and now works as an information officer at the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority – his claims to fame include being involved with the London 2012 Olympics, with the park playing host to the Olympic VeloPark and White Water Canoe Course. As the book reveals – via insights into his Adrian Mole-esque diary entries and somewhat lame attempts at adolescent

s

Y

r i c c l e in

From Omagh to Oamaru, Ciaran Ward’s book takes a slightly surreal look at the paths that link our school days to the big wide world and back again…

poetry – Ciaran has always enjoyed writing, and it was after a few years of blogging that he finally decided to write a book, as he explains: “I’d been writing my blog ‘The Dreaming Armadillo’, basically a collection of whimsical observations on life, since 2005. Then in 2011 I started writing short, humorous pieces relating to memorable incidents from my school days and putting them on the blog just for a laugh. By this stage I’d built up a substantial collection of Facebook friends, many of whom were people I’d been at school with 20 years earlier - they liked what they saw and demanded I produce more of the same. So I did. The book evolved from here really. Most of the events depicted are true, some are slightly exaggerated for literary effect and the odd incident is pure fiction – but I won’t say which ones!” It’s not all school tales though; Ciaran also includes a number of memoirs about his extensive travels to the Balkans, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Spain and Morocco – but written cleverly to connect these later life experiences with memories from his childhood, such as his schoolboy fascination with Dracula being borne out in an adult trip to Transylvania, or a tall tale about a camel on a bus in Omagh, linked to a visit to the Sahara desert. The writing is humorous, and easy to read, Ciaran’s observations are sharp and evocative, his memory incredible – so how on earth did he commit to black and white the experiences most of us have long forgotten? He says: People say I have a good memory, but that’s only partly true. There are things from 20 years ago which I can remember clearly, yet I could easily forget stuff that happened only last week. In fact there were many events from my school

days and early life which I had forgotten, but once I sat down to write the book they came flooding back to me. I also used to keep diaries during my youth which helped. Apart from that the only research I did was looking through old school magazines which I found in my parents’ loft.” “Primarily I hope the book will amuse and entertain its readers – and in some cases make them think about some of its philosophical musings on the absurdities of life! In terms of the travel writing I would like to think that people will be inspired to visit some of the places described in the book – some of which aren’t exactly the most obvious holiday destination like Bosnia or Romania. But most importantly I would absolutely love it if someone after reading ‘In Complete Circles’ was inspired to write a memoir of their own school days.” Of course, no school memoir would be complete without the odd confession of misdemeanours. So will Ciaran be able to show his face back at the CBS again? “I would like to think so,” he laughs. “I would hope that people will have a sense of humour and won’t take the book too seriously. I do actually mention in the book about the school’s annual prize giving ceremony where the guest speaker was usually a distinguished past pupil who had made a name for himself in business, academia or the church for example and was held up as a shining example for the pupils to aspire to. I’m neither distinguished nor a ‘shining example’ and I don’t expect to be invited to speak at the prize giving any time soon, but if the offer ever comes my way I’ll gladly accept!” ‘In Complete Circles’ is available to buy as a paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon. omaghtoday | 39


Shauna Murphy celebrates her 18th in the Nags

Birthday girl Shauna Murphy who celebrated her 18th with a birthday bash in the Nag's Inn, Fintona. Shauna is pictured, left, with her mum Donna, centre, grandparents Barney and Mary McSorley and uncles, aunts, cousins and inlaws and above with wee brother.

Colette Breen joins the 60‘s club

Colette Breen who celebrated her 60th with family and friends in the Millstone on Saturday night. She is pictured with, immediate family members, Eva Rose McAleer, Nicola McAleer, Amy McAtee and Michelle Breen. Above Centre: Sister act - Colette with Patsy Hunsdale, Marie Graham and her sister in law.

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Fifteens

Ingredients 15 digestive biscuits 15 cherries 15 marshmallows 1 tin of condensed milk Sheet of greaseproof paper

Another popular favourite this week - fifteens as they are known, quite simply because you use 15 of everything in the recipe! These couldn’t be simpler to make – a perfect one to do with the kids – and they always go down a storm.

Knitting for Barnardos in Library

Break up the digestive biscuits in a bowl - I break them up with a rolling pin. Try to not do this in a blender as you don't want the crumb to be too fine. Cut the cherries and marshmallows into small pieces and add to the broken biscuits. Now add the tin of condensed milk to the broken biscuit, marshmallow and cherries and combine the mixture together. Rest for 5 minutes, then roll the mix into a long finger shape and wrap in the greaseproof paper. Rest in the fridge for two hours. Remove from the fridge and cut into individual pieces about an inch thick, place on a paper bun case and serve. If you wish you can add some nuts to your biscuits or also what I have done is use half digestive and half chocolate digestive for a better flavour.

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

Clever local ladies gathered at Omagh Library recently for a very special event where they knitted some gorgeous jumpers for a whole family of Barney Bears – barney being the mascot for children’s charity, Barnardos. The bears with their unique jumpers, each featuring the name of the knitter, will be raffled later in the year to raise funds for the charity, which works with vulnerable and disadvantaged children across NI.

Dancin’ feet raise £3k for Chest, Heart & Stroke

Helen Kielt, Health on Mind Project, Libraries NI with Patrica Molloy, Margaret Corrigan and Cait McCrory. Mena Lindsay and Aileen Kerr.

Alice Douglas, Patricia O'Donnell, Edith Rosemary Henderson and Harriet England Reynolds

McClements

and

Colette

Representatives of the O’Kane School of Irish Dancing present NI Chest, Heart and Stroke with a cheque for £3,000, raised at the recent Feis held in Killyclogher, Omagh in conjunction with the O’Doherty family in memory of a good family friend Pat O’Doherty. The presentation was made at the NICHS Omagh Stroke Scheme and included in the picture are, from left: Linzi Davidson, NICHS Coordinator, Omagh SS; Tom McElhinney, NICHS Area Manager; Kathleen O’Doherty; Chayada McMenamin; Eugene O’Doherty and Mary McMenamin. omaghtoday | 41


Monday is market day in Omagh IT’S been an integral part of life in Omagh and this week the Monday variety market, now based at the purpose built Drumquin Road showgrounds, had double cause for celebration. Not only is it 40 years since the weekly market was first established but it is also a decade since it moved to the splendid surrounds of its current home. The first stalls were pitched on March 25, 1974 at the old Sedan Avenue showgrounds - now the site of the Showgrounds Retail Park - and it’s testament to all involved that it has remained part of the town’s landscape for the best part of half a century. The switch to the purpose-built Tyrone Farming Society facilities 10 years ago has been pivotal to the continuing success of the Monday market. The current site has helped enhance the

Monday trip to the Drumquin Road venue Balram Sharma, Jennifer Hawkes, Chairwoman TFS; Will Megan, thanks to ease Paule Sharma, Johnnie Wilkin, Alan Kyle, vice-chairman TFS and of access, Edwin Cartwright secretary, TFS. spacious free plants, shrubs, hedge and bedding plants parking, toilet facilities and the provision of or why not take time to pick up a bunch of hot food making it a much more enjoyable freshly cut flowers for the one you love? and convenient experience for trader and Other wares for sale include music CDs/ customer alike. DVDs, cleaning products, household goods, The market itself offers unprecedented tools, DIY, footwear, ladies clothing, work/ choice with stalls selling anything from the safety clothing, accessories, bric-a-brac, best of locally produced food to bedding mats and much more. plants, household goods and bric-a-brac. Rain, hail or shine traders at Omagh market Wholesome local produce forms the basis have loyally serviced the local community of any country market worth its salt and for more years than perhaps most of us Omagh boasts a plethora of stalls selling care to remember and they will again be everything from fresh eggs, to home-grown out in force on this Easter Bank Holiday fruit and veg. If gardening is your thing Monday. Give us a call and let us provide then there’s a varied selection of vegetable you with your every need!

‘Hit your brakes, not a horse’ – riders appeal POLICE in Omagh are appealing for information after a horse was hit by a car on Sunday, April 6 – the third incident of a mounted horse being either struck or spooked by a passing vehicle in the Omagh area in recent months. The incident took place on the Corkhill Road, Seskinore at around 11.30am when a red-coloured car, thought to be a Volkswagen Passat struck the horse and stopped for a short time before driving off. Anyone who saw anything and who can help Police should ring them on the new non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 63860414, or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Drivers are being urged to take into consideration is the fact that a horse is an animal with natural flight instincts and unfortunately, due to their immense power and strength, their rider is not always in control. With this is mind it is vitally important to be courteous and patient towards horses and riders on the road to prevent death or serious injury to horses, riders and drivers. Experienced rider Nicola Mulligan takes a look at how drivers can be safe around horses on the road. • Pass slowly It’s a lesser known fact that due to the position of a horse’s eye, it is unable to see directly behind it; therefore cars will only come into a horse’s field of vision as the driver pulls out to pass. Horses are flight animals so passing slowly will give the horse time to acknowledge your presence and it’s less likely that they will be startled. Suddenly overtaking and speeding past will take the horse omaghtoday | 42

completely by surprise and in this situation there is little the rider can do to prevent the horse from becoming alarmed. Taking this kind of a risk on the road where there are horses involved could have disastrous consequences. • Do not beep the horn or rev the engine It may be frustrating for drivers to find themselves stuck behind a horse and rider for a prolonged period of time, but you must not under any circumstances beep the horn or rev your engine. Again, because a horse cannot see directly behind, it relies mainly on its hearing to detect any danger in the surrounding area. Sudden, loud noises can cause the horse to become frightened and persistent revving or blasting of the horn will only aggravate the horse and will make them difficult for the rider to control. • Leave plenty of space when passing Horses are unpredictable and easily scared when it comes to things they perceive as a threat. Traditionally, horses are animals of prey and so when they feel threatened by something, their natural instinct is to flee. Something as simple as a rustle in the hedge or a plastic bag blowing in the wind may cause them to feel endangered. If a horse does see an object which frightens them just as you begin to pass, there is a great possibility that they may step out towards the middle of the road. To avoid causing a collision, bear this in mind and keep well over to the other side of the road, giving the horse plenty of room when passing. You should also stay well back when waiting for a safe place to pass.


Middle

ground

HAVING been on the very periphery of Omagh District Council’s catchment area, the tiny village of Trillick is about to find itself centre stage, located right in the heart of what will be the new ‘super council’ area. Although technically linked to Omagh, by virtue of its geography, Trillick has definite Fermanagh sensibilities – which puts people like native Stephen McCann, who will contest an Omagh seat for Sinn Fein in the upcoming council elections, in a unique position to understand and navigate the minefield that lies ahead as Omagh and Fermanagh try to find common ground amid sweeping change. Stephen’s been

Carrying on our pre-election series, we talk to Sinn Fein candidate Stephen McCann from Trillick about the middle ground – living in it, and finding it in the council chamber…

interested in politics since he was a schoolboy, though not in an academic, A-Level politics sort of way. In fact, Stephen is the first to admit he hadn’t an awful lot of time for school, and despite achieving above average GCSE grades, he couldn’t wait to wave goodbye to the classroom and get into the world of work. It was this strong work ethic, and associated issues of employment opportunities and equality, that first sparked Stephen’s interest in politics and led to him joining Sinn Fein at the tender age of 16. “I had grown up through the 90s when things in Northern Ireland weren’t great,” he recalls. “I remember things like having my schoolbag searched, being segregated from pupils from other schools on the bus, and feeling intimidated by the army, or my parents getting stopped at RUC checkpoints when I was younger. Maybe unlike my peers I was always very aware of the things that were happening around me – when my sisters were wanting to watch Ant and Dec on the TV, I’d have been wanting to watch the news! To me at that time, Sinn Fein were the ones who were shouting the loudest that this situation had to change, and that really fired my interest, so I got involved with them at a local level. It allowed me to see how politics works, how it works for the people of ‘lower social status’ and how important that is. I can understand why people would be turned off by politics in Northern Ireland but I have always felt it’s important to be involved and have your say.” After leaving school, Stephen spent three years at Omagh Training Centre as an apprentice electrician, before following work to Dublin. By now his mother and siblings had relocated from Trillick to Wexford, following the sudden death of Stephen’s father, and a short time after starting work in Dublin Stephen went to stay there for a few days, as he had injured his hand on site. “I ended up staying for four years – it was a long weekend,” he laughs. The reason for the long stay, as one might guess, was a girl; Stephen met Agnes just a few days into his stay and before long the pair were inseparable. The couple married in 2004 and

relocated back to Tyrone, where they have welcomed three children – Erin is eight, Niall is four and baby Odhran turned one in December past. The move prompted a change of career for Stephen, who saw opportunities within the Quinn group as an insurance salesman – a role he still enjoys today, with Liberty Insurance. The move also allowed Stephen to reconnect with his local Sinn Fein cumann, an opportunity he has relished over the years. He served as chairman of the party in Omagh District in 2008 and is the current chair of Dromore and Trillick Sinn Fein. Running for election wasn’t on his agenda until his party colleague and esteemed councillor Peter Kelly fell ill late last year, and decided he wouldn’t contest his seat – but while he has some big shoes to fill, Stephen is hoping his experience of grass roots politics will stand him in good stead if he’s elected. “It’s a big undertaking but I’m excited about the challenge. It’s an exciting time for Trillick too because it’s going from being on the most outlying point of the Omagh District to being right in the middle – it would certainly be handy for me if the new council’s headquarters were in Trillick!” he jokes. “I do hope that being from one county and working in the other I can help to bridge the gap a bit if I’m elected. For me though the most important issues are the ones that affect my local community – things like bringing employment to the area to stem the tide of young people emigrating. I can think of one local family who have seen five people out of six leaving my local area to seek work abroad; that’s a family torn apart and we need to do more to keep our talented young people here in Tyrone. “There are also some community schemes happening too that I’m really excited about – the Trillick 20-20 scheme is one that I think will make Trillick a great place to live and is something that that will need support from council going forward. There are wider issues too, such as the A5, which I’m a strong supporter of. Of course there are always going to be political issues within Northern Ireland where we don’t all agree. My take on that really is that we need to act in the spirit of reconciliation at all times – I think the recent meeting between Martin McGuinness and the Queen is a great example of that. Each of them had lots of reasons not to meet the other, but they each showed a willingness to move forward and I think that’s the kind of leadership we need, whether it’s at the highest level in government or down at the grass roots.”

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Anne-Marie's Hen Night

Pretty Ann Marie McGarrity with her Matron of Honour Mary Curran and bridesmaid Rosaleen Bradley at her hen night in Rue on Saturday night. Ann Marie will marry Patrick Bradley in Killyclogher in May.

On the run for Gortin schools

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W

By Nicola Mulligan

HEN we think of Easter, it’s usually cute chicks, huge bunnies with floppy ears and an excuse to eat chocolate ‘til we feel sick that springs to mind. Although these things may seem traditional to us, they’re alien to a lot of countries around the world who have their own customs surrounding the Easter holiday. So, without further ado, here are some of the most peculiar Easter traditions from around the globe. Czech Republic and Slovakia: In both these countries, on Easter Sunday it is a custom for men to beat women with decorated hand -made whips. However, you’ll be glad to know that this is not intended to be painful but it’s believed that this makes the women more healthy and beautiful. Finland: The Finnish tend to celebrate Easter in a similar fashion to Halloween. The children dress up as witches with broomsticks hung around their necks and they wander the streets of their local town in search of treats. It is believed that during this festival that witches become more powerful and so bonfires are made to keep them at bay. Australia: In many countries throughout the world it’s usually the job of the Easter Bunny to deliver the chocolate eggs, but in Oz, it’s the Easter Bilby. A Bilby is a rat like creature, only with a larger body and a longer nose and is an endangered species in Australia. The reason behind the Easter Bilby tradition is to create a greater awareness of their plight and as opposed to chocolate eggs, chocolate shaped

Across 1 Multitude (4) 3 Zimbabwe, formerly (8) 9 Male sibling (7) 10 Fear-stricken state (5) 11 Cabs (5) 12 Large bodies of water (6) 14 Fervent (6) 16 Consequence (6) 19 Northern Ireland (6) 21 Food from heaven (5) 24 Easily digested (5) 25 Pencilled picture (7) 26 Stubbornly persistent (8) 27 Fledgling's home (4)

Bilbies are sold in Australia. Colombia: Colombians have a strange sense of taste at Easter time, to say the least. Instead of stuffing themselves full of chocolate and eggs, they feast on iguanas, turtles and large rodents. Germany: In most countries, it’s a tradition for Easter eggs to be hidden and it can be a fun game for children to go egg hunting to try and find them. However, in Germany chocolate eggs are displayed prominently on the streets and in the trees. Amazingly, some trees will have thousands of eggs hanging from them. Hungary: It’s a common sight on Easter Sunday for Hungarian women to dress in traditional clothing and to be drenched with buckets of water, courtesy of the men in their local town.

the bread will fail to rise. This trend must be catching on in Northern Ireland all year round, even affecting men without moustaches! Russia: In Russia they do not indulge on delicious chocolate, instead they dig in to a large piece of butter carved into the shape of a lamb. This bizarre custom is based on the religious idea that lambs are lucky because they were the only animals that the devil couldn’t take the form of. France: Trust the French to make an excuse to create a culinary masterpiece! Annually on Easter Sunday, in the town of Haux, the people in the surrounding villages bring their eggs to the town square, where they contribute them to a massive omelette, big enough to feed around 1,000 people. Papua New Guinea: Surprisingly, this tropical country indulges in tobacco as opposed to chocolate at Easter. Outside churches, trees will be decorated with sticks of tobacco and after the church service cigarettes are distributed and everyone lights up!

Poland: This excuse for men not getting involved with the domestic duties on Easter Sunday will definitely give you a laugh ladies! In Poland, the master of the house does not take part in the Easter bread preparation because it is believed that dough will fall on his moustache, causing it to turn grey and consequently,

Down 1 Wonted (8) 2 Sitting Bull's tribe (5) 4 Famous public school (6) 5 Male duck (5) 6 Steadfast (7) 7 Weapons (4) 8 Selected (6) 13 Direct (8) 15 Inundated (7) 17 Large treeless plains in South America (6) 18 Direct (anag) (6) 20 Instructor (5) 22 Din (5) 23 Lowest female singing voice (4) omaghtoday | 45


around the

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

Local SuperValu stores contribute to £85K Big Bus boost Action Cancer patron, Nuala McKeever is all smiles as she announces an amazing £85,000 contribution to Action Cancer, made by SuperValu stores across Northern Ireland last year - with O’Kane’s SuperValu in Omagh raising £3,600 and Hegarty’s SuperValu in Fintona raising £3,100 towards the total. Stores held events such as golf days, coffee mornings, raffles and trolley dash events to raise funds for Action Cancer’s Big Bus mobile screening and health promotion unit. The Action Cancer Big Bus was launched in 2006, and since then almost 40,000 people have used the breast screening and health promotion services on the unit. As part of the partnership between Action Cancer and SuperValu, which originally started in 2002, stores host Big Bus visits and raise funds throughout the year to fund the life-saving service. Pictured with Nuala are Action Cancer’s Kerry Anderson and SuperValu Marketing Manager, Donna Morrison.

Coffee morning marks World Autism Day

Photographed at a Coffee Morning held in Omagh Youth Centre to mark World Autism Day and the Autism Buddy Programme initiative are (standing from left): Deirdre McGrenaghan, Western Trust Head of Service for Childrens Mental Health and Autism Services; Rachel Gilmour, Inclusion Worker, WELB Youth Service (Fermanagh); Josh Adams student from Erne Integrated College, Enniskillen; Molly McCaffrey student from Collegiate Grammar School, Enniskillen and Sandra Dickson, Western Trust Social Worker Children’s ASD Team. Kneeling from left to right are: Ursula Johnston, parent representative; Teresa Mulligan student from Drumragh Integrated College, Omagh; Charlene Blakeley, Inclusion Worker WELB Youth Service (Omagh); Rachel Crawford Student from Devenish College, Enniskillen and Karen Connolly, parent representative. omaghtoday | 46

Get fit, not fat, this Easter Sunday! Drumquin Cycling Club are offering an alternative to eating chocolate eggs until you feel sick this Easter Sunday, in the form of their annual leisure cycle! Taking place on April 20, the cycle features two routes (35 miles and 50 miles) and departs from the Social Centre on the Dooish Road at 10am. Entry is £10 per person or £15 per family, and as this is a Cycling Ireland event, insurance is included. Registration takes places between 9and 10am on the day and refreshments will be served afterwards.

Local runner raises vital funds for Alzheimer's Society Breige Conway from Carrickmore, who took on the challenge of the Dublin Marathon to raise £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of her mum, Bridie McCloskey, who sadly passed away in August 2011 having had dementia for a number of years. Breige said: ‘I really enjoyed doing the event and I’m delighted to be able to support the work of the Society. I would like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me.’ Gillian Clarke, Community Fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society in South & West Northern Ireland said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Breige and her sponsors. As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like them to help us support people to live well with dementia today and fund research to find a cure for tomorrow'. You can join the fight against dementia, from running your local 5K to trekking the Inca Trail, and cycling from London to Paris to parachuting, Alzheimer's Society has a fantastic range of events both in the UK and abroad. To find out more, please visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/events or call 0870 417 0192.


Protecting your biggest asset – your ideas PROTECTING your ideas and designs was top of the agenda when Omagh District Council’s Innovation Omagh Programme hosted a highly successful seminar to highlight the complexities of Intellectual Property law to the local business community. The ‘Protect your Idea/Design’ Seminar was held in the Silverbirch Hotel on April 3 with keynote speeches from FR Kelly (Specialists in Intellectual Property) and Invest Northern Ireland. Innovation Omagh is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland. Opening the seminar, council chairman Martin McColgan, said: “I am delighted that this one–off seminar is being delivered as it will inform and educate the local business community on the options and support mechanisms available to protect their ideas and designs, as we know Intellectual Property is a complex and diverse subject for most SMEs.” Speaking at the event, Alan Wallace outlined the role of FR Kelly as a leading specialist in intellectual property law and the services they offer in areas such as patent, trade mark, design and copyright services. Alan said: “One of the most effective ways of sustaining a competitive advantage and creating differentiation is by pioneering new technical advances, developing inventive processes or exploiting innovation. From this innovation, you must have a clear understanding of Intellectual property, in order to protect yourself and your product.” Attendees also heard about the support and guidance available through Invest NI in regards to Intellectual Property. Innovation Omagh encourages innovation, research and

development to assist local businesses in the creation of new jobs, sustaining existing jobs, increasing sales and helping create new markets and opportunities. The free Programme is actively looking for businesses who are interested in participating. For further information contact the Business Innovation Co-ordinator; Andrea McGuckin by email: andrea.mcguckin@omagh.gov.uk or telephone: 07971 660 521

Pictured at Innovation Omagh’s recent Intellectual Property Seminar are (front row): Sheena Bingham, Sobelle; Martin McColgan, Chairman, Omagh District Council; Andrea McGuckin, Innovation Omagh. Back row: Gary Smylie Invest NI; Kevin McShane Omagh District Council; Alan Wallace, FR Kelly; Daniel Broderick, Broderick Engineering.

Local pupils compete in eco debate event LOCAL pupils gave their opinions on how their schools might become more eco-friendly when the annual schools’ Environmental Youth Speak competition, hosted by David Meade, was held in Craigavon Civic Centre on April 1. Fifty pupils from schools across Northern Ireland competed to be the 2014 regional and NI winners of the competition; among them George Crozier of Dromore Primary School and Eimear McAleer of Loreto Convent Grammar School, who represented the Omagh district at the Regional heats, speaking on the topics “If I was Principal this is how I would reduce waste in my school….” and “How our school can become more sustainable….” George and Eimear were the Youthspeak host David Meade with winners of the junior and senior Omagh representatives at the Youthspeak local council heats, and George competition, George Crozier and Eimear went on to win the regional heat, McAleer. Also included in the photograph representing the Omagh district at is Omagh District Council Recycling the NI final. Education Officer, Anthea Owens. Environmental Youth Speak is run by 25 councils in conjunction with Northern Ireland’s three regional waste management groups - SWaMP2008, North West and arc21. The competition begins at council level in March, progressing to regional level and culminating in the Northern Ireland Final held in April. Congratulating George and Eimear on their achievement, the council’s Recycling Education Officer Anthea Owens, said: ”Both our local pupils displayed a great wealth of knowledge about current environmental issues, and their public speaking was admirable. Both pupils represented their schools, families and council area with pride at this national competition.”

CVPL raise £600 for Mencap

Ruth Patterson, Patrick and Michael McKinney and Anne O'Kane from Mencap receive a cheque for £600 from Michael Rodgers, Seamus Doyle and Colette Rodgers. The money was raised by placing charity boxes in all venues of the Clogher Valley Pool league, on Monday nights during the current season. CROSSWORD SOLUTION

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Anne is fab at forty

Birthday girl Anne McGarrigle who celebrated her 40th with a birthday bash in the Weigh Inn on Saturday night pictured with hubby Mark.

The birthday girl with daughter Joanne.

Fudge loving birthday girl Anne McGarrigle with her clan, the Coburns.

Newtown's Gordon celebrates

Gordon with his daughter and parents. Newtownstewart birthday boy Gordon McCrea with his daughter Tracey, sister Anne Hamilton and her daughter Leanne at his birthday bash in Hemptons on Saturday night.

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Cappagh cowboys and cowgals join the Pilgrims at Cappagh Parish Centre

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 | 49


Walk in memory of Sandra Kelly from Mountfield to Loughmacrory

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Mulligan Cycle

Above: Members of the Mulligan clan with Irish Cycling legend Sean Kelly prior to the start of the inaugural 'On the Rivet' charity cycle celebrating the life of the late John Mulligan. Proceeds from the 30/40 mile cycle go to Beacon House.

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Tyrone meet their fans at Healy Park

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St. Enda’s awards night St. Enda's GFC, Omagh held their annual prizegiving and dinner in the Sperrin Restaurant recently. Pictured are some of the guests enjoying the night.

Blushing Bride-2-B Sharon's Hen night

WINNER Congratulations to

Lisa O'Hare from Eskra,

Blushing Bride-to-be Sharon Wilson who will marry her beloved David Moore on 16th May pictured with her 'minders' Jane Wilson, Gemma Wilson, Jane Wilson and Kerry Wilson at her hen party in Hempton's, Newtownstewart on Saturday night.

who won our competition in issue 86 for a family pass to Belfast Zoo! Enjoy your wee day out Lisa! omaghtoday | 53


Omagh Accies fun fundraising day Pig racing was just one highlight of the afternoon at a hugely successful fundraising fun day hosted by Omagh Accies at Mellon Playing Fields last weekend. A massive crowd turned out to support

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the event, which was sponsored by Pat Kirk Motors and included a number of showcase matches – including a Qualifyting Two match between Omagh and Strabane, which ended in defeat for the home


side - as well as bouncy castles, face painting, a barbecue, mini golf and more. The main prize on the day was a Nissan Qashqai, won by John Crawford from Augher. Open season! Well the 2014 fishing season is underway at last and, it has to be said, this year it has opened with its fair share of controversy! Since our last column the Omagh Anglers Association (OAA) Committee posted a notice in the Ulster Herald saying that “any persons found fishing without a permit on a river that requires a permit from OAA will be liable to prosecution”. Then OAA, on the 10th of April, and keen to clear up any confusion regarding sporting rights to the Camowen, posted a solicitor’s letter on their website which seems to confirm the fact that the OAA still hold sporting rights on the river in question. CCAA have yet to respond to the solicitor’s letter on their Facebook page but many of their supporters are adamant that CCAA have the landowners’ permission to access the rivers and that this supersedes sporting rights.

In the meantime CCAA have been very busy on the river and have installed many new stiles and stopovers, as well as erecting signage claiming ownership of the riverbanks. Work parties belonging to CCAA have also been in the river, clearing away fallen trees and fixing broken fences etc. Whether you affiliate with OAA or CCAA, it is fair to say that the improvements made to date by CCAA are welcome and are quite impressive for a newly formed club. Until the two Associations can find some middle ground I guess it is up to you, the individual anglers, to make up your minds about joining OAA or CCAA (or both!) to fish the Camowen. I hope this dispute gets sorted out soon so we can all know with clarity where we are standing on the banks of the Camowen, my favourite river. Inter-provincial youth title A few of our local youths have had great success since the last edition by winning the Inter-Provincial whilst representing Ulster on April 5. Well done to Cian Ward, Charlie McDonagh, Ferghail Armstrong, Simon Harkness and the rest of the Ulster squad! Charity fly fishing competition The 6th Omagh Angling Forum Open Charity Fly Fishing competition has been launched and will take place this time round at Loughmacrory. This is a move away from the previous competitions which have all been fished from the bank and will hopefully prove to be a welcome change for the anglers involved. The event will be limited to 30 anglers this time round due to the numbers the boats can hold, and there are still places left if you’d like to take part - simply sign up on the Omagh Angling Forum on Facebook. Money raised will be going to vulnerable children in the Omagh area, so it’s a worthwhile day out if you’re up for it. Until next time, tight lines! MC omaghtoday | 55


TheSideline Local sport insights ...

Thrilling day of darts at Weigh Inn

Belcoo's Brendan Dolan powered to another local title at the weekend as he emerged victorious in the inaugural Weigh Inn all Ireland invitational grand slam of darts. The number 14 in the world turned on the style in the decider, beating fellow PDC professional Daryl Gurney 7-3 in a final that mirrored a wonderful day’s darts at the Omagh venue. Forty of Ireland's top throwers took to the oche on Sunday, with Dolan clinching the title after topping his group and eventually beating the genial John Flood in a hard fought semi-final 6-4, the highlight a 136 checkout in the final set. It was dart for dart in that semi-final as the North West veteran led 3-2 before Dolan finally took charge with some super cool finishing to clinch the final three sets. Gurney only showed brief glimpses of his quality after a commanding run through the round robin and early knock out stages. The Londonderry man having to battle all the way against one of the country's best up and coming players Dave Concannon in the last four. Four maximums in the semi-final eventually saw him through to the final as Concannon took the first two sets. Gurney at times struggled but a couple of errors from the young thrower allowed ‘Dude’ back despite missing out on a double ten finish on two visits to the board in set six. The final was expected to be a pressure cooker but a storming start from Dolan put Gurney on the back foot, at 3-0 up the Fermanagh

thrower was playing controlled darts but a rare slip allowed Gurney back and at 5-3 after two maximums in set eight, the North West man looked to be back within striking distance. Normal service was restored by Dolan as he took set nine and in front of a packed house he once again stamped his authority on the final and hit a simple double five to wrap up the tournament 7-3. The real winner of the weekend was darts itself, the cream of the crop had all competed, from the BDO, PDC and a raft of top local throwers with twenty four players leaving the Omagh venue with part of the £5,000 plus prize pool. Davy Guy and Justin McGuigan were the best of the local Omagh throwers, the duo reached the last 16. The day’s subsidiary competition produced some super darts too, no surprise really with Kevin Burness and Colin McGarry going head to head. Burness went 5-0 up and McGarry looked dead and buried but from somewhere the Northern Ireland international produced shot after shot and it sat 5-4 ahead of the tenth set. Burness, ‘The Iron Man’ stood up to the task again though and quickly accounted for his Larne counterpart winning the decider 6-4. Next up for he Omagh venue will be the festival of Darts this Summer and remarkably within 38 hours of the entry being open the 96 spaces and over 50 reserve spaces have been filled, a testament to the success of the Donnelly's commitment to the sport.

Crowds enjoy high-octane tie as Harps face Enniskillen With three games to go in the Fermanagh and Western league first division Strathroy Harps may feel they have at least one hand on the famous Mercer Cup. Seamus Fanthorpe’s side are five points clear of nearest rivals and defending champions Enniskillen Town United after Saturday’s 1-0 win in front over almost 400 spectators at Omagh Leisure Complex. It was the biggest crowd that has ventured to a local football fixture in several seasons and they were treated to a high octane cup tie style fixture decided by just a single goal. The winner for Harps came on twenty minutes when the ever industrious Ryan Mayse slotted home. To be honest the young striker could have finished the first half with four goals, such was the Harps dominance over their illustrious Enniskillen opponents. That said the visitors too had their chances and hit the crossbar in the second half, but Strathroy emerged with the win and sit top with that five point gap. They have three games left while Enniskillen have four, so it remains in the Tyrone side’s own hands in the next couple of weeks - at last that Fermanagh stranglehold on the first division title could be loosening.

Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email ads@omaghtoday.com or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078 omaghtoday | 56


Shelbourne, meanwhile, look destined for the drop to division two but while it’s been a season to forget for the once intermediate club, one has to give credit to the club officials and members who have kept the club going. Few gave them a hope of finishing this season, few suggested they would be out of football by Christmas, but the battling qualities of a few and a dedicated group of footballers has kept the club going. The question is though, will they start next season? A lot of soul searching will definitely be required before that call is made. You could be assured a clutch of players will return, the grass is not always greener on the other side and despite assurances that players would get football elsewhere, that certainly has not been

the case across the entire local football scene. Here's hoping the Shels will survive. A team celebrating forty years on the go this year are Mountjoy United. From humble beginnings the club has risen through the Fermanagh and Western to the NI Intermediate league that centres around the North West. Charlie McCrea tells me that the club have a special night or two planned and it's hoped that some of the players who played for the club through the years will return of a celebratory night later this year. The club have already wrapped up their programme of fixtures this year and are planning ahead for next term.

Sadness for Valley There was deep sadness for Davy Black and Clogher Valley at the weekend when they suffered a loss at Kanturk, ending their hopes of all Ireland league rugby for another year. They will soon put that behind them, though, as they prepare for Easter Monday’s Towns Cup final trip to the new Ravenhill. It has been a competition that has been good for the Tyrone club but they face a stern examination as they play Donaghadee. Black’s side have put in so much work this season, winning the league, qualifying for

the all Ireland round robin play-offs, the all Ireland junior cup and now of course the Towns Cup, they certainly deserve to get their hands on some silverware. The quality of this Clogher side is exceptional but they will says, Black, have to step it up against ‘Dee’ Easter Monday will be a big occasion and the local side will bring a massive support to the 18,000 seater stadium: “It will be a chance for the players to play in this wonderful new stadium, we have been at Ravenhill before but this will be different,

we cant wait," enthused the Valley coach. Omagh meanwhile have missed out on promotion despite a wonderful run of results. Ballyclare claimed the step up but for certain Omagh have laid the foundations for a real crack at the title next term. The club recently held a memorable fun day in conjunction with Pat Kirk Motors and Strabane RFC, the annual sevens are also round the corner now as well, so it's busy busy at the Mellon.

GAA clubs look ahead to new season The new club football season in Tyrone began at the weekend with a full round of all county football league games pencilled in last Sunday. With the exit of Tyrone from the latter stages of the national league with the loss to Dublin, it was all systems go for club players throughout the county. Preparations have been ongoing for several months and new managers will have been delighted to get started. New boys Eskra Emmetts made their senior football

debut at Healy Park and despite losing to Omagh they will certainly take heart from their second half performance. It was evident to the big crowd at the Omagh venue that the Emmetts will cause teams problems through the rest of the season. Coalisland beat the league winners Carrickmore on the opening day as Killyclogher, Dromore and Errigal also clinched wins in the top flight.

Thunder sponsorship Two and four wheel action In the petrol soaked world of motorsport, local rally fans will be keeping a close eye on the Circuit of Ireland Rally this Easter weekend, and in particular on Fintona teenager Aaron Johnston, who will compete for the first time in the event alongside Ashley Dickson. The 19-year-old is one of the youngest competitors in this year’s event. It is a dream come true for Aaron, who has entered and finished every other international rally in Ireland except the Circuit. "The stages are very fast and flowing which will test us and the car to its limit, but we are confident of a good run for the two days

and come Saturday evening hopefully we will have finished with a good result," he said ahead of the event. Another youngster making a name for herself is 12-year-old Alanna McAleer, who alongside her father Dessie, won the class for the Rally School participants in Omagh Motor Club's Boneshaker Navigation Rally at the weekend. Also on four wheels, Omagh co-driver, Gordon Noble and Trillick's Alastair Fisher endured a frustrating start to life in the Junior World Rally Championship in Portugal, crashing out when leading by over a minute!

Co-sponsors of Omagh Thunder Basketball Club Senior team - Michael Donnelly of the Weigh Inn and Dermot Gillan of Omagh Chiropractic Clinic - with new Omagh Thunder warm-up jerseys. The senior team would like to thank the Weigh Inn and Omagh Chiropractic Clinic for their sponsorship throughout the past season omaghtoday | 57


NO ADULTS ALLOWED!!!

Eggs, bunnies, buttons, bars…it doesn’t matter what shape or form it comes in – we LOVE chocolate! AS we celebrate Easter this weekend, kids all over the country will be stuffing themselves silly with the stuff – but how much do you know about the nation’s favourite treat? Chocolate first came to Europe in the 16th Century, but it has been proven that the Mayans established cocoa plantations long before 600 AD. Chocolate was first introduced to Spain in 1519 when an explorer brought some back from Mexico where he had been given a chocolate drink by an Aztec emperor. The Aztecs considered the drink so glorious that it was served in golden goblets, and then only to members of the royal family who were considered gods by their own people. So valuable was the cacao or cocoa bean, from which the chocolate drink was made, that the bean was also used as money. The Spanish sweetened the bitter Aztec chocolate drink with sugar and spices, such as vanilla and cinnamon. They kept the chocolate a secret for nearly 100 years, although gradually the reputation of this delicious but expensive drink crept around Europe. In 1828, a Dutchman called Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented a press which could extract cocoa butter and cocoa powder from the bean. This process has changed little over the years and is how we still get our cocoa powder for chocolate drinks today. This invention paved the way 20 years later for an Englishman named Joseph Fry, who discovered how to combine the cocoa butter with chocolate liquor (ground cocoa beans) and sugar to make the first ‘eating chocolate’. In 1875, Daniel Peter (who later went on to form Nestlé) added condensed milk omaghtoday | 58

to Joseph Fry’s chocolate recipe to make the first milk chocolate. A few years later, Rodolphe Lindt invented a way to refine chocolate so it could be moulded into shapes as well as bars. Since then technology in the manufacture of chocolate and chocolate products has come on in leaps and bounds, taking chocolate from a luxury that only a few could afford to an everyday treat that we now take for granted.

How is chocolate made?

It might surprise you to learn that chocolate actually starts life as a plant! The cocoa bean tree is only cultivated in West Africa, Northern & Central America, the Caribbean and some parts of Asia. When the tree is a few years old, it starts to produce melon-shaped pods which contain 20 to 50 cocoa beans each. These pods are harvested twice a year. They are split open and the beans are left to ferment in the

sun. This turns the white bean dark brown and gives it its chocolate taste. When dry, the beans are shipped to factories where they are cleaned, roasted and shelled. They are then broken into large pieces called ‘nibs’. These are ground to form a rich brown chocolate liquid called chocolate liquor (cocoa solids). Some of this liquor is hardened into moulds to form bitter baking chocolate, but most is pressed to extract the fat. This is known as cocoa butter. The solid mass which remains is crushed and sifted, producing cocoa powder. Different types of chocolate contain different blends of these ingredients. Dark chocolate is made from chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and sugar – the higher the amount of cocoa solids, the more bitter the chocolate. Milk chocolate is made sweeter and lighter with the addition of milk powder; while white chocolate is a mixture of cocoa butter and sugar, with no cocoa solids.


Omagh Integrated bunny hunt

• During the Aztec reign, a slave could be bought for 100 cocoa beans. • It takes the whole of one year’s crop from one tree to make half a kilo of cocoa. • 17,000 people in Belgium - that’s 1 in every 200 workers - are involved in the making, selling and promotion of chocolate. • One chocolate chip provides enough food energy for an adult to walk 150 feet. Therefore, it takes about 35 chocolate chips to walk a mile or 875,000 to get you around the world.

Granda Aidan McMullan with Niamh and Lucky dipping are Lucy Ewing, Aisha Padraig Sharkey. McCarney and Jennifer McElroy.

• Terry’s of York produce more than 350 million segments of chocolate orange a year. • The biggest chocolate sculpture ever made was a 4,484lb, 10 foot high Easter egg, constructed in Melbourne, Australia. • If the number of Toblerones sold in one year were laid end to end, they would equate to 62,000 Km – equivalent to the circumference of the Earth. • The world’s largest box of chocolates weighed in at 2,002 lbs. It was made in Chicago, USA. • Africa now produces over 66% of the world’s supply of chocolate. • The first cacao trees were found growing in the Amazon river basin and the foothills of the Venezuelan and Colombian Andes. • In Holland, the feast of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus is celebrated on December 6th. The children put their clogs outside at night so Santa can fill them up with chocolate money. • The largest chocolate ever made was a chocolate marzipan. It was made in the Netherlands over a 3-day period and weighed 4,078 lbs! • 66,000 Crème Eggs are made every hour • One in seven 15-24 year-olds claim life without chocolate would not be worth living!

omaghtoday | 59


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