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Issue 87

Thursday 1st May 2014 EVERY FORTNIGHT

p4 Claire Martin chats to Omagh Lawn Tennis Club president, Billy Pollock, about his long association with the club and bringing it back from the brink of extinction…

VIP Derek flies in for Jamboree



Omagh's beautiful brides shine as wedding season gets into full swing ONLY £1.25


Style and smiles at Arvalee's first ever formal.

2013 Vauxhall Meriva Exclusiv, 1.7 CDTi, Pepper Dust, 8,000 miles

2013 Vauxhall Antara Exclusiv 4x4 2.0 CDTi, Black Sapphire, 7,500 miles

2012 Vauxhall Insignia SRI 2.0 CDTi (160), White, 15,000 miles




2011 Vauxhall Zafira Energy 1.6 16v, Silver, 22,000 miles

2013 Vauxhall Mokka Exclusiv 1.7CDTi, Satin Steel Grey, 8,000 miles

2013 Astra Elite, 2.0 CDTi (165), Power Red,




2013 Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv, 1.7 CDTi, Black Sapphire, 12,000 miles

2010 Vauxhall Astra SRI 1.7CDTi, Fresco Blue, 43,000 miles



2011 Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv 1.7 CDTi, Waterworld (Blue), 16,000 miles



ISSUE 87 | 1ST MAY 2014 34





Pinch, punch…


Big Interview


Reservoir Dad


A greener future


Glam first Arvalee formal


Skysdalimit Performance heart


Sunny day puts ‘Spring in the step’ of Beragh runners


Gortin schools benefit from 10k/5k fun run


Kids - A-list animals

…first of the month! We’re not sure where that old saying comes from but it’s all a bit violent-sounding for our liking – make love, not war! And sure what would you be fighting about this weather? The sun has been shining and a late Easter makes for two bank holiday weekends in quick succession – what are you planning to do with yours? One man who certainly knows how to make the most of his leisure time is Omagh’s Billy Pollock – probably best known as a local undertaker of many years’ standing but also a keen amateur radio aficionado and president of Omagh Lawn Tennis Club. We caught up with Billy as his beloved club prepares for an open day to attract new members, to find out all about his Herculean efforts to secure its future for generations to come. Now, remember back in March we featured the Loft Bridal’s Mother’s day competition? Well the girls were overwhelmed with entries and it’s a case of tissues at the ready for when you read Wendy Irwin’s wonderful nomination for her amazing mum Doreen – and check out those two girls looking absolutely gorgeous after their makeover and photoshoot. We chatted to Beragh man, Ciaran McClean, about his passion for the environment and why he believes green issues are becoming more important than tribal politics. We also caught up with fundraising powerhouse Kerry Irvine to talk about her new self-penned charity single that could just be the next viral sensation online. Pat’s camera has been red hot as he bounced from one function to the next – there’s action from the Gortin 5K Run and also the Beragh 5 Mile; hair-raising action in the INF, Siobhan’s big 5-0 with Wee Buns, the Arvalee School formal, Lisnacrieve School Reunion and Drumquin’s Easter cycle to name just a few. And that’s not all – we have a brand new column from countryphile George Poet; love is in the air with a surfeit of beautiful weddings and an adorable cherub on Page Six; advice on what to do if you’re suffering from the dreaded hayfever in our Health Focus feature, fascinating facts for the kids about celebrity pets and lots more! See you in two weeks!



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


Email - or telephone Pat - 077 1284 0985


Pat McSorley - 077 1284 0985 |


Email: | Tel. 028 8075 8078

Printed by Ecclesville Printing, Fintona - 028 8284 0048 - -

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Beyond break point

Claire Martin chats to Omagh Lawn Tennis Club president, Billy Pollock, about his long association with the club and bringing it back from the brink of extinction…

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STABLISHED in 1892, Omagh Lawn Tennis Club has a long and distinguished history; its courts have hosted some of the world’s finest players and have won acclaim from across the island of Ireland – but the reality is that if it wasn’t for the commitment (and on occasions, the sheer stubbornness) of one local man, chances are this great club would have become extinct long ago. Over the years, president Billy Pollock has had more than one fight on his hands to keep the tennis club’s doors open; and it’s thanks to his determination not only that the club has survived, but that it’s looking forward to a bright future. Born in 1940 in a house on Omagh’s James Street, Billy’s family had a formidable matriarch in the form of his grandmother at its helm. Widowed while her children were still small, she single-handedly continued running the family business, a general store established under the name of J.R. Pollock & Co. and located where Menary’s is now. Billy’s father Bertie grew up helping in the shop and when the time came, he took over the reins. It was he who added undertaking as a further string to the company’s bow in the 1930s, laying the foundations for a trusted family business that still exists today. With the business thriving, Billy and his three younger brothers enjoyed a carefree childhood, attending Omagh Academy Prep before moving up to the grammar school and getting up to all the mischief one might expect from four young boys. “I remember playing hide and seek in the coffin loft, which was in my grandmother’s house at Campsie Road,” he laughs. “It was just normal to us – we thought nothing of climbing into a coffin and closing the lid! With having four sons, my father thought he’d got a football team. He was a keen footballer and he actually ran Omagh Town for a time. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of being driven up the town in the back of Gussie Hynes’ van with a loudspeaker, shouting to everyone to come out and watch the match that afternoon. None of us were a bit interested in football though – my twin brothers got into tennis instead and it turned out they were pretty good. They started taking lessons in Belfast and my father eventually built us a tennis court at the side of the house. That’s how we got involved with the tennis club. At that time it was pretty elitist – it would have been doctors, solicitors and the like, certainly nobody who was ‘in trade’ But my brothers were good and they knew they could help the club to win things so we had a family membership.” In those days the tennis club had a ramshackle clubhouse with chemical toilets – glamour was in short supply, but nevertheless its clay courts were manicured to perfection by groundsman Bob Galbraith for three months of each year. “Wimbledon was an amateur tournament then and players from Australia and South Africa would have been travelling around Europe, playing various tournaments in hopes of qualifying for the championships. They would come to Ireland to play at

Fitzwilliam in Dublin, and we got a few of them too, with tans and accents this town had never seen the like of!” Billy recalls. Meanwhile, life was moving on in the Pollock household and with thoughts turning to a career, Billy headed off to Queen’s University to study electrical engineering. “I never wanted to go into the family business,” he explains. “After the war I was able to get some old WW2 radio receivers for next to nothing and that was the first time I’d heard amateur radio enthusiasts talking to each other over the air – I was hooked! I went on to do my City and Guilds radio exams when I was still at school and so electrical engineering as a career appealed to me. After I graduated, I went to work at Short’s in Belfast.” By now Billy was also a married man, having tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart Dorothy. “We met when I was at the Academy and she was at the Tech, which at that time were housed in the same building. We used to meet in the middle, at the radiator outside the Assembly hall,” he smiles. Billy loved his job at Short’s and he thrived there, progressing from the shop floor to the drawing office and eventually working on the design of weapons electronics. The rigorous apprenticeship scheme at Short’s launched many a successful engineering career – but in the late sixties Billy thought his number was up when he got called to the office of the general manager of the company. “He had a reputation for being fierce and I sat down quaking,” he smiles. “But he said he’d had his eye on me. I had been covering sick leave for one of the managers and they wanted me to become his assistant, with a view to eventually getting his job. It would have been a hell of a promotion and a big jump in salary for me, but I said I didn’t know if I could do the job. The role was all management and no engineering, and I loved being an engineer. We both agreed to think about it for a few days and I talked it over with Dorothy. I couldn’t turn down the money but I didn’t want to do the job and I decided that if I was going to give up doing what I loved, I might as well give it up in favour of the family business. So that’s what I did – I handed in my notice and came back to Omagh.” That was 1967, and times were changing on Omagh’s High Street. Wellworths had moved in and the independent grocery stores were operating in an increasingly difficult climate. J.R. Pollock & Co invested in their business, turning it into a supermarket to try and compete, but eventually a decision was made to wind up the grocery business, lease the ground floor commercial premises and focus on the undertaking business on the first floor. He also found an outlet for his engineering and radio passions when he started a hi-fi business, Tyrone Stereo, in partnership with Herbie Maclaine from Seskinore. Meanwhile, Billy and Dorothy had also been busy at home. Unable to have children of their own, they proceeded to adopt. Just a year after returning to Omagh they became proud parents to baby Judith, and a year after that, they brought Richard home to their house in Campsie – despite the downstairs being under two feet of water due to the great flood! The death of Billy’s father in 1975 put him in sole charge of the business, which would eventually move from its town centre premises to its present location at Doogary, with the family moving to an adjacent property shortly afterwards. But their time living in Campsie gave Billy ample opportunity to become fully reacquainted with the tennis club, and he

began to take a more active role. By now, the club’s heyday seemed to be well and truly over; membership had dwindled to a handful of ‘die hards’ who took something of an ostrich approach to its ailing fortunes and it was thus that Billy found himself chairman, facing a huge rates bill he couldn’t pay and the seemingly certain demise of a once-great club. “I sent out the agenda for the next AGM,” he says, “and the first item, proposed by me as chairman, was the winding up of Omagh Tennis Club. The reaction was immediate – all those old members wanted to know who this young upstart was who was going to try and close their tennis club and they all came to the meeting, where I explained it to them very clearly – and it worked. We did some fundraising and got the bill paid.” Of course, that was just a stay of execution. The club needed a major investment of both money and time – the old clay courts were only playable for three or four months each year, the clubhouse was falling down and new members were put off by what seemed to be closed ranks within the existing membership. Enniskillen Tennis Club had recently been awarded Lottery funding, so Billy formed a small committee with Valerie Rowan as secretary, and began the laborious process of compiling a similar application and also identifying ways to raise the 31% of the costs that wouldn’t be covered by the Lottery grant. “We worked out that we needed £120,000 from the Lottery, we got 35,000 through another grant scheme and then we had to raise the rest

ourselves – which for a club with 25 members was a tall order, but we did it. Then about a month before we were due to get a decision, I got a call from Belfast to say they only had £100,000 to give us. I was furious and as there was no way we could raise the shortfall in a month. ‘It’s easy to solve,’ they told me – ‘just don’t do the floodlights’. I couldn’t believe my ears – the floodlights were a key part. We’d have had to rip the new courts up to install lights at a later stage. I told them I was putting the application in as it stood and they could either say yes or no – but I wasn’t budging. There was silence from Belfast, but a month later, we got funding for the full amount! I considered that an achievement. The courts opened in 1996 and it was a far bigger event than I had anticipated. I didn’t prepare a speech but as the thing went on it became clear I’d be expected to make one. So when the time came I stood up and thanked the Lottery people for supporting it, and everyone who had helped along the way. To the members, I said ‘your work is just beginning’.” He was right, of course; new courts were one thing but a healthy club was quite another. It wasn’t long before Billy and Valerie were back on the case and seeking funding for a new clubhouse. In order to even be eligible for

Lottery funding for this part of the project, they had to track down the owner of and purchase the lease for the land. They fundraised by selling bricks – engraved with the benefactor’s name using machinery at the Pollocks’ monumental sculpting business. The clubhouse – built to Billy’s specifications and inspired by the pavilion-style building that once graced the same site back in the 1930s – opened in 2005. The final part of the puzzle was to sow the seeds for the club’s future survival: “We needed the structures put in place and we had a young member called Donna McSorley who was full of ideas. I put it to the committee that I thought Donna could do the job but she would need to be paid. We debated it at a meeting and they couldn’t agree – it went on til 11 o’clock at night because they thought it was a good idea in principle but the rules stated that members didn’t get paid! I was going on holiday the next day so I said we would put it to a vote – and it was agreed. By the time I came back from Spain three weeks later Donna had lots of things up and running.” Donna’s input laid the foundations for success that continues today. The club’s burgeoning membership now stands at over 200 ranging in age from juniors of just five right up to veterans – including Billy himself. Twelve months of the year and in all weathers, you can find players on the court under those ‘controversial’ floodlights; the club runs social events and internal leagues as well as competing in leagues across Ireland at many levels. In 2005, their hard work was rewarded when the club was nominated for an Eagle Star Award, a joint scheme between Leinster Tennis and Tennis Ireland, to reward excellence in the sport. They came runner-up in the ‘best small club’ category. The following year Billy had a bee in his bonnet again – he wanted to organize the biggest tournament Omagh had ever laid on to celebrate the club’s 100th tournament– but he needed sponsorship. Prentice BMW had recently opened a showroom in Omagh and with their tagline ‘striving to be the best’ they seemed an ideal fit, but Billy struggled to get a commitment from them. That was, at least, until Omagh were invited back to the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for the 2006 Eagle Star Awards, where Omagh Tennis Club this time won the small club category – and were astounded when they were announced overall winner of ‘Club of the Year’. BMW came on board, the tournament was a resounding success and what’s more, it has remained a big event on the tennis calendar locally. The club’s future is secure – both practically and financially, with new coach Mark Smyth working hard at grassroots level to build on its success – and as for Billy? Well, he says his current term as chairman will be his last. “It’s time to give somebody else a crack of the whip,” he says, “but I am proud of what I’ve achieved at the club.” Now semi-retired, he still looks after the admin side of the funeral and electronics businesses and spends a good deal of time in his workshop and radio room, either tinkering with his vintage equipment, or communicating via the huge self-built aerial in his back garden with radio enthusiasts all over the world (his most famous contact was with a former King of Jordan). He and Dorothy are grandparents several times over now, and they also spend several months each year in Spain, where they have a home and a penchant for golf – and of course, the weather is perfect for a spot of tennis!

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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 after their marriage at Drumragh Chapel on April 12 are the former Miss Roisin Quinn from Omagh and her groom, Gerard O’Connor from Cookstown. The couple celebrated their wedding reception at the Roe Park Resort, Limavady, and honeymooned on the Costa Blanca. Photo: KD Imaging.

Baby Anna Bridie McAleer in the arms of proud parents Claire and Ryan at her christening held in Beragh Chapel on April 6. No doubt it won't be long til baby Anna is found singing in the choir! Clara Lyttle tied the knot with long-term love Ryan Maybin at St Mary’s Church, Killyclogher on April 4 and the couple celebrated with a reception at Ballyliffin Lodge, Co. Donegal. Highlight of the day for Ryan was a surprise video message from his Manchester United hero, Rio Ferdinand – Clara has definitely surged into the lead on ‘brownie points’! Photo:

Looking beautiful amid the cherry blossom are Anita McKenna and James McGinley, who married at St Mary’s Church Knockmoyle on April 21. The couple met nine years ago on a night out and James proposed in 2012 by writing ‘will you marry me?’ in the sand on a beach in Perth while the couple were travelling the world together. They had their wedding reception at Castle Dargan, Co. Sligo. Photo: Erica Irvine Photography.

Pictured after their wedding at Clogherney Church of Ireland, Beragh are Kimberley Cathers, daughter of Duncan and Adrienne Cathers, Beragh and Kenny Sayers, Omagh. The newlyweds held their wedding reception at Larchfield Estate, Lisburn, and are spending their honeymoon in Mauritius and Dubai.

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

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Jamboree to rock May bank holiday weekend

A STAR-studded line up and a festival that’s getting bigger and better by the year – that’s the Jamboree in the Park, set to take place this May Bank holiday weekend at Fintona's Ecclesville centre and boasting a new one way system layout, new flooring, top sound and lights and of course one massive stage where the big names will perform over what’s expected to be three amazing nights of top class entertainment. Firmly established as Ireland's premier country music festival, the Jamboree brings together the cream of the crop in Irish country music including Derek Ryan, Jimmy Buckley and the Princess of new Irish country, Lisa McHugh, as well as a host of household names including Mike Denver, Johnny Brady, the Logues and Ritchie Remo. As always some of the finest local talent will also share the stage over this exciting holiday weekend. AJS Promotions have pulled out all the stops ahead of this year’s festival and to celebrate they are offering some great value packages. A weekend ticket to some twenty hours of country music is a whip crackin’ £35, nightly pre-bought show tickets are £15

or £20 at the door on the night - but come early to avoid disappointment! Meanwhile if you want something extra special a limited number of VIP tickets for Friday and Sunday are still currently available but are selling really fast, at £20 per night. The weekend spectacular gets underway on Friday, May 2 with the one and only Jimmy Buckley heading a superb bill including Jim Devine and John Garrity, Downtown’s very own ‘Big T’ (Trevor Campbell) presenting throughout. Saturday is set to be a massive night with Mike Denver, Johnny Brady, and one of the hottest properties in Irish music - Derek Ryan. The Logues and Lisa McHugh will wrap up the Bank Holiday festival on Sunday night ably supported by Ritchie Remo and Trevor Loughrey. Host and compere for the weekend is none other than the legendary CMA award winner, Pio McCann, who will keep it all in full swing. The Ecclesville

centre will boast free car parking, food and drink on site and the very best in country music over three nights. Speaking this week at the launch of the event Lisa McHugh said she can't wait to get on stage: "I am really looking forward to the Jamboree, it's a special atmosphere at the Ecclesville and a real thrill for me and the band to be appearing on the Sunday night, we are going to have a real party and I’m just sorry I can't be there for the full weekend, it's such a great line up!” Visit the Facebook page ‘Jamboree in the Park’ to keep up to date and for your chance to win free. Don’t delay - get those tickets booked on 028 8284 0200, drop by or call into the Ecclesville Centre between 10.30am and 9.30 pm Monday to Friday.

Salon NSPCC event EYEspeak certificate winners

Clients at "the Salon' on Omagh's Derry Road got more than just a cut and colour when they visited recently! owner Eimear Keys organised a 'Stop For Tea' morning to raise money for children's charity, NSPCC. Pictured are Janice Howard and Margaret Mitchell, members of the local branch of the charity. Also in the photo are Salon staff members and a few customers who enjoyed the fundraiser. Below are Naomi Andrews and Mia Keys, daughter of Salon owner Eimear Keys. Mia made bracelets and sold them during the fundraising event.

Members of EYEspeak (self help/support group for adults with sight loss living in Omagh area) receive certificates from course tutor Frances Sweeney on successful completion of a Trash Fashion Arts project run by Community Arts Partnership. David Barnes Regional Manager BNIB NI said: "I would like to congratulate everyone on successful completion of the programme and am delighted that blind and partially sighted people are increasingly participating in local community activities and making such an excellent contribution." Francis Sweeney (CAP) tutor added: "I really enjoyed working with EYEspeak to produce a great variety of really creative pieces which everyone had the opportunity to show off on the catwalk at a fashion show event held recently at the Waterfront hall." Back row L-R: David Barnes, Regional Manager, RNIB NI. Jim Hamilton, Brendan Foster, Matthew Cleary. Front row: Frances Sweeney CAP Tutor, Christine Hamilton, Bridie McCrystal, Charlotte Bennet, Francis McGirr. Missing from photo Terry McCaugherty, Mary Fisher, Angela McKinney, Grainne Cummings, Jo Mullan.

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TALKOFTHETOWN Omagh’s Sinead carries Tyrone’s hopes to Tralee SHE’S well known for her vocal talents as frontwoman of the hugely successful band Atmosphere – and Clanabogan beauty Sinead Taggart has certainly been floating on air since being crowned Tyrone Rose for the 2014 Rose of Tralee festival last week! 27-year-old Sinead, who also works at the Western Trust, was one of 15 wannabe Roses who took to the stage in Cookstown’s Greenvale Hotel on Wednesday, April 23 to compete for the coveted Tyrone Rose title and a place in the regional finals, due to take place in Portlaoise in May. The talented and bubbly singer wowed a packed house – not to mention those watching live via the internet thanks to Fintona company Silvermist - with her natural beauty and charm on stage with MC Jimmy Cowan. Along with the 14 other Roses she did her family, friends and home town proud with a stunning rendition of ‘A Bright Blue Rose’ as well as her stage presence and witty banter with her host, making her a worthy winner of the title as she takes forward the hopes of a whole county in the 55th Rose of Tralee Festival, which will take place in August with a total of seven Roses progressing from the regionals in May. Speaking after her win, a stunned Sinead said: "I'm delighted to have been selected as the ambassador for Tyrone and hope that I can represent the fourteen other girls to the best of my ability in Portlaoise. "I've always thought about being a Rose, and due to other commitments over the past few years I never got the chance to take part, and when the opportunity came up this year I just went for it, and was delighted to be able to represent my sponsor Sally’s

of Omagh as their Rose. I will be picking a charity to work with in the year ahead to raise vital funds and will embark on fundraising activities over the coming weeks and months, so watch this space. I am so glad I got involved, and I am now really looking forward to the next stage in Portlaoise." Sinead takes over from 23-year-old Joanne O’Neill who was been a fantastic ambassador for the county and gave a ringing endorsement of the festival as she addressed the crowd at the Tyrone selection, wishing Sinead all the best for her year ahead. The Tyrone Rose selection event, now in it’s 9th year, has continued to grow in stature thanks to the hard work of the Tyrone Rose committee. Commenting on the success of this year’s event, Tyrone co-ordinator Colin Hampsey, said: “We are delighted with the success of this year’s event, and the calibre of the Roses this year has been exceptional. We have a wonderful new Rose in Sinead Taggart and have no doubt she will be an amazing representative of the 14 other magnificent Roses who took part, and follow in the footsteps of our 2013 Tyrone Rose Joanne O’Neill and all her predecessors. We are hopeful that our new Tyrone Rose Sinead can fly the flag for us in Portlaoise and make it to Tralee in August. I would urge everyone to get behind Sinead and support her in the year ahead.” Supporters can keep up to date with Sinead’s year ahead by logging onto or joining the centres Facebook page TyroneRoseOfTralee or following on Twitter.

Clogherney Presbyterian Church hosts the Presbyterian Women Annual Presbytery Rally

Muriel Good, Rev. Norman Smyth, Yvonne Mulligan, Rt. Rev. Dr Rob These colourful ladies of the choir provided a feast for the eyes and Craig, Moderator, Karen Craig and Iris Clarke at the Presbyterian the ears at the Presbyterian Women Annual Presbytery Rally, held Women Annual Presbytery Rally held in Clogherney Presbyterian in Clogherney Presbyterian Church, Beragh this past weekend, Church on Sunday evening. omaghtoday | 8

Local engineering firm wins ‘Considerate Construction’ awards A LOCAL civil engineering firm has won a National Award recognising their consideration of the public, their staff and also the environment in which they are working. Omagh-based firm William & Henry Alexander (Civil Engineering) Ltd. received a silver award in the Considerate Constructor Scheme Colm Collins, Quantity Surveyor; James awards, held recently Carmody, Contracts Manager, and in Manchester, for Louise Friel, Environmental Officer their work at Dunmore pictured with the gold award and Wind Farm, Limavady, National runner-up award won by Gael on behalf of their client Force Renewables for their ‘Considerate Capital Dynamics Ltd. Construction’ at. Glenconway Wind Another firm, Gael Farm, Claudy. Force Renewables, which is a joint venture between Alexander’s and two other companies, McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd and Barr Ltd, received a gold award in the same scheme and went on to be crowned national runner-up for the Most Considerate Site Award 2014 for their contract at Glenconway Wind Farm, Claudy. Established in 1997, the Considerate Construction Scheme operates a voluntary Code of Considerate Practice, to which participating construction sites and companies register. The Scheme is a nonprofit-making, independent organisation founded and funded by the industry to improve its image. The construction industry has a huge impact on all our lives, with most construction work taking place in sensitive locations. If all construction sites and companies presented an image of competent management, efficiency, awareness of environmental issues and above all neighbourliness, then they would become a positive advertisement, not just for themselves but for the industry as a whole. The Code of Considerate Practice commits those sites and

companies registered with the Scheme to care about appearance, respect the community, protect the environment, secure everyone's safety and value their workforce. The Scheme is open to construction companies and sites of all types and size and for every type of construction activity, with many construction companies and clients automatically registering all their work as company policy.

 Registered sites and companies are monitored and if passers-by wish to comment, the name and telephone number of the site manager or company contact is clearly displayed, alongside the freephone telephone number of the Scheme's administration office. Registered companies also display a vehicle sticker or magnet, showing their unique registration number, on every company vehicle used on the public highway. The Awards are a testament to the dedicated site teams that have demonstrated the highest levels of consideration towards the public, their workforce and the environment in which they are building. Further details on these and more projects can be found by visiting or or by contacting W&H Alexander (CE) LTD on 028 8224 2348.

Keith Gains, Capital Dynamics; Wendy Beatty, HSQE Manager; Emmet Keenan, Contracts Manager; John McElwaine, Plant Manager and Gregor Bryce, Capital Dynamics pictured with the silver award won by Omagh Firm W&H Alexander Ltd in the Considerate Construction Scheme 2014 for their site at Dunmore Wind farm, Limavady.

Fintona Am Dram society stages 'Cupid Wore Skirts'

St. Patrick’s Hall, Fintona recently hosted the Fintona Amateur Dramatic Society’s production of the Sam Cree comedy entitled ‘Cupid Wore Skirts’. Starring John Johnston, Michael Colgan, Nora O’Neill, Pat McAtee, Vincent McCarney, Mary Campbell,

Laura McCann, Marie McQuaid and Paul Donnelly, the complicated life in the Coulter Antique shop’s living room had the audience in stitches throughout the performance.

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Potty training, Barney the dinosaur and other adventures in parenthood as local comic takes to the stage at Strule

HE’S a self-confessed ‘honourary blow-in’ from Belfast but he got his big comedy break on the stage at Daly’s Comedy Club – and now Tattyreagh comedian Terry McHugh is finally bringing his latest show, ‘Reservoir Dad’, to his adopted home town with a show in the Strule on May 30. Terry’s only been doing stand-up since 2011 – though as a former Coca-Cola yo-yo world champion he’s no stranger to the limelight – but since performing his first ever slot at Daly’s he’s enjoyed incredible success with performances in some of Irish comedy’s most hallowed venues alongside big names such as Jake O’Kane, Tim McGarry and Micky Bartlett. Terry’s first show, ‘My other car is a Delorean’ was inspired by some of his adventures in parenting and ‘Reservoir Dad’ is a further exploration of the themes surrounding what he refers to as ‘ownership of three tiny people’. Expect tales of potty training, the sheer torment that is Barney the Dinosaur, swapping late nights for early mornings and morphing from rock music connoisseur to

CBeebies expert via ‘the cool wall’ and all sorts of other madness that will resonate with parents and make the reproductive organs of nonparents want to crawl back up inside their bodies – amid much hilarity of course! Reservoir Dad has already sold out Belfast’s Black Box and The Workman’s Club in Dublin, while ticket sales for a show in Mason’s Comedy Club, Derry on May 8 are flying out the door. Terry brings the show to Omagh on May 30th before performing a second Belfast date on June 5 – and then it’s full steam ahead for the iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He says: “When we were booking the tour the only definite was that we would be bringing the show to Omagh. I’m living down here 10 years now so Omagh is my hometown gig - just don’t tell anyone in Belfast I said that! “I might need my head tested booking the biggest venue in the town but when I wrote the show I had an ending in mind that could only be done in Omagh and was only possible in a theatre venue. So everyone that goes will get to see something that nowhere else on the tour will see. “Dublin and Belfast sold out which was beyond my expectations to be honest, Derry is looking good for a sell out and the second night in Belfast is selling well too. Then it’s off to Edinburgh in August, leaving Trisha at home with the three kids for a month. I think she’ll be glad to have rid of me for a while to be honest! I’m delighted to have Conor Keys there on the night too. We both started out around the same time and we both said we’d love to

the Strule someday. So to be able to do it together is great. I was delighted when he said he’d do support for me but I don’t think he realised I’ll be needing him for emotional support that night too. He’s sold the place out twice with his play writing genius and this will be his Strule stand up debut. He’ll be a tough act to follow on the night which is what you want, it keeps you on your toes.” Tickets priced £7 are available now from the Strule Box Office online, or call 028 8224 7831.

WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN - WIN We have a pair of tickets to give away for Terry McHugh's 'Reservoir Dad' show in the Strule on May 30. To be in with a chance of winning simply complete the coupon and return it to us by post to Omagh Today, 79 Moylagh Road, Beragh, BT790UN before Monday, May 12. Winner will be notified by phone. Name: Address:

Tel No:


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Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078 omaghtoday | 10

New garden centre to open at Mullaghmore House A NEW era for gardening enthusiasts in Omagh will begin at Mullaghmore House on Monday (May 5) with the official opening of a brand new garden centre under the expert guidance of well-known local horticulturalist, Claire Rodgers.

Claire’s been selling plants and giving gardening advice to the people of Omagh for many years now but recently made the big decision to close her business, Garden Creations, and return to her farming background with husband Gerard, who also runs his own landscaping company from the couple’s home. She was delighted when the team at Mullaghmore House acquired the business with big plans to bring it to their prime location in the heart of Omagh – and Claire has even agreed to stay on and provide the benefit of her expertise. It would be difficult to pick a better location for a garden centre – the extensive grounds at Mullaghmore House offer ample space while the house and outbuildings are steeped in history, lending real atmosphere and making this a real ‘destination’ for an afternoon of browsing or shopping. All of Claire’s suppliers have agreed to come on board so the new venture will stock an enormous range of plants, from trees and shrubs right down to alpines and herbs. Gardening has never been more ‘en vogue’ and with programmes such as ‘The Great British Allotment’ drawing large audiences on our TV screens, the ‘grow your own’ trend shows no sign of abating – and Mullaghmore House Garden Centre will have a full complement of fruit and veg plants as well as all the equipment and accessories you need to produce a healthy crop! Add to that beautiful pots and garden décor, Weber barbecues and accessories, and lots more and you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for. Joining Claire in the garden centre will be Sharyn Kelly, daughter-inlaw of the inimitable Louis. Sharon also runs her own craft business, Crafty Crafters, from the premises, offering craft sessions to adults and children on both pre-booked and drop-in terms. Men’s Sheds has also opened up on the premises in addition to vintage clothing emporium Rustic Runway and with plans to open a tea room as well it certainly looks as if Mullaghmore Garden Centre is set to become a weekend must-visit for the people of Omagh! For more details on Crafty Crafters visit Or for a closer look, why not pop in for the official opening on Monday, May 5? There will be ample opportunity to browse the huge selection of plants and garden accessories on offer, as well as for the kids to decorate their own pot with Sharon and then plant a sunflower – with prizes on offer at the end of the summer for the tallest one! There will also be lots of promotional offers on the day so if you’re looking to overhaul your garden this spring or simply grow some fruit and veg in pots then don’t miss this fabulous event. For more information call 028 8224 2314 or email omaghtoday | 11

Bootcamp at Gortin Glens

Intrepid adventurers of all ages tackled an obstacle course in Gortin Glens on Sunday, organised by Actifit Omagh to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer

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Local bowlers awards night

Fintona bowlers at their awards night in the Woodhill Restaurant, Irvinestown

Talented Seskinore bowlers pose with their array of trophies


15 MAY

Blossomhill bowlers also had a successful year on the local bowling circuit.

Dean College keep on winning

Above left: Carrickmore’s Dean Maguirc College Year 9, 10, 11 finalists in the annual public speaking competition. Above right: Declan Forde, Lisa O’Neill and Michael Murphy adjudicators of the recent 24th annual public speaking competition which was sponsored by The Friendly Care Group Termonmaguirc and held in the ‘Dean pictured with winners Shannon Tierney, teachers’ award, Sadhbh Keenan, Year 10 winner, Caelan McElhone, overall runnerup Chloe O’Brien, overall winner, Aideen Curran, adjudicators’ award and Sarah Ward, year 9 winner. Left: Chloe O’Brien, overall winning speaker with her mother Bernie, Claire O’Hanlon, head of English, James Warnock, College principal and the Friendly Care Group representatives Mary Ward, Mary McCartan and Albert Breen.

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I have just a few cards of Sixmilecross but I always consider them when the chance arises. I have seen this card before, in the collection of a friend, and I have always liked it. There is something about the simplicity of the scene which appeals to me. The card is titled Bernisk Glen, Sixmilecross. Bernisk seems to be an older form of Bernish but they might well have been alternative versions in use at the same time. The card was published by Healys of Dublin, who were a fairly large sized publisher. I have not seen any cards of Omagh by them but they produced a series of cards of Dromore (Tyrone) which are similar in colouring to this card. Bernisk Glen is remote and would not have been easy to get to in 1910. It is obvious that the photographer and his companion came by the pony and trap visible in the scene. It is not a jaunting car so the journey would most likely have been uncomfortable. Certainly if the look on the woman's face is anything to go by she is not enjoying herself. I would expect that she is the wife of the photographer. I would have imagined that both would have arrived by train into a nearby village and hired the driver with the pony and trap to take them to some local places of interest. It is unlikely that the photographer was local and knew of the Glen beforehand, but that is the joy of postcards; there are so many things we do not know but feel that we just might find out. Although it is not far from Sixmilecross I do not think someone would have come across it by accident. The

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local knowledge would have been most likely been supplied by the driver, seen here waiting patiently in the trap. The Reverend W F Marshall is perhaps the person most associated with Bernish Glen. Having written a poem with that title in which he talks about the mystery of the Glen, of fairies and a rapparee who is reputed to have hidden out in the Glen. The rapparee in question was Shane 'Bearnach' O'Donnell who is said to have taken refuge in a cave in the Glen Bernish. Rapparees were often the remnants of guerrilla forces who had fought against Cromwell and later William's army. The name derived from the Irish for short pike but later became a term for a highwayman or cut purse. W F Marshall published a poem in 1912 in support of the anti home rule movement but subsequently became better known for his comic verses, although he wrote a wide range of verse. His poem 'Sarah Ann' (often referred to as 'I'm Living in Drumlister') and 'Me and me Da' are two of his better known offerings. They are still performed as party pieces in Tyrone and beyond. He spent much of his time out of Tyrone as a result of his Ministry. He spent time in Castlerock where he thought wistfully of his native Tyrone: "I would rather be back in the streams of Remackin or knee-deep in Bernish in bracken and fern." It would be nice to be able to put a name to the photographer and the woman and driver but that is near impossible now. Still there is something very appealing about this card. A very rare glimpse into the past.

Flying the nest

Bessie Belle

An Omagh’s girl’s take on life... I’ve been thinking. Yes, dangerous, I know. I’ve been thinking it’s probably about time I moved out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to know I’ve somewhere to go if it all goes to pot but I think it’s about time I started to fend for myself again. Now I have a job and regular income, even if it is minimum wage, it seems like the time is right to make the move. And to be honest, the folks are starting to get on my last nerve. It’s bad enough the people at work annoy me all day but then to have to come home and there’s more to listen to. And anyway, if I did get a man, I can hardly take him into the house for a cuppa unless I don’t mind him meeting me Da in his vest and long-johns. There’s all these studies saying people here stay at home the longest compared to other parts of the world. I don’t see why living with your parents should be anything we need be embarrassed about. Sometimes it’s just not practical and sometimes you’d just never get anywhere better. Your home is the place you know best, it’s the place you are most comfortable in. There are usually lots of memories associated with the place. If you’ve grown up in the same house you know every creak and groan of it. You know every wee knack to open that sticky lock, to close the awkward cupboard door and to get the heating to crank up. You know every creaky floor board because you’ve sneaked home late so many times trying not to wake the whole house. You know all the hiding places for the good biscuits and the

front door key. There’s various patches on walls and doors where you, your siblings or crazy cousins have put a knee, elbow or head through or thrown a can of beans at (don’t ask). Your childhood home has been with you your whole life. It has seen you laugh, cry, shout, whisper, be good and be bold. It has seen you looking your best and your worst and never judges you. It was always there at the end of a long day, somewhere you felt safe. You could go into the kitchen and when you open the fridge there’s always food there. The house is always warm and there’s always someone around or something happening to stop you getting bored. Your house is like your folks, it generally has a lot of faults but you’ve learned to live with them and wouldn’t swap…most of the time anyway. Then of course, there’s having your parents around. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. You always have company, but sometimes the company just won’t shut up. Your mother will generally be happy to do things for you just to avoid having to talk to your father and your father will be happy to help you with things just to fill his time and feel a bit useful. Sometimes there’s just no good reason to leave and plenty of reasons to stay. So when I think about it, maybe I shouldn’t be in such a rush to move out after all. And anyway have you seen the price of rent? I might have to rethink this plan.

INF lads shave raises £2,100 for the Care for Cancer fund

Above: Hairdresser Paula Darcy and Joan Hamilton, Care for Cancer with the INF lads who grew beards during Lent to raise awareness of men’s health issues and in particularly prostate cancer. Paula cleaned up the shabby faces on Easter Sunday and total raised, for Care for Cancer, was £2,100.

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Hayfever We’ve been enjoying some bright, dry weather recently and the garden is coming back to life – sure signs that summer is on the way! But for some people, these are also signs that a different season – hayfever season – is about to start, and it can be miserable for sufferers. Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. Common hay fever symptoms are a runny, itchy and/or blocked nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. Strictly speaking, hay fever is caused by an allergy to grass pollens. Grass pollen is the most common cause and tends to affect people every year in the grass pollen season from about May to July. However, the term is often used when allergies are caused by other pollens such as tree pollens (March-May) and weed pollens (spring to autumn).

Who gets hay fever?

Hay fever is very common. It affects about 2 in 10 people in the UK. It often first develops in school-age children and during the teenage years. Hay fever tends to run in families. You are also more likely to develop hay fever if you already have asthma or eczema and vice versa. The condition eventually goes away or improves in many cases.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of hay fever can vary from person to person and are due to your immune system reacting to the pollen. Cells on the lining of the nose and eyes release histamine and other chemicals when they come into contact with pollen. This causes inflammation in the nose and eyes. Sometimes the sinuses and throat can also be affected. Common symptoms include runny/itchy/blocked nose, sneezing, itchy/watery eyes, and itchy throat. Less common symptoms include headache, sweats and asthma-type symptoms.

Treating hay fever

Most of the time, hayfever is treated with antihistamines which prevent or reduce your body’s production of histamines, which trigger an allergic reaction. Antihistamine nasal sprays are often prescribed to people who suffer from itchy, runny or blocked nose as they act quickly in the affected area. Sprays can also be used regularly to keep symptoms away. Antihistamine tablets or liquids are a good alternative, especially for children. People whose eyes are affected more than their nose may get better relief from tablets, but likewise those with a blocked nose may not get adequate relief. There are various types of antihistamines available and it’s worth remembering that some drugs can cause side effects such as drowsiness, which may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, it is advised to try to avoid antihistamines, if possible. Treatment with a steroid nasal spray is usually tried first. An antihistamine may sometimes be used if your symptoms are not controlled. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist if you are pregnant or breast-feeding and have hay fever. A steroid nasal spray usually works well to clear all the nasal

symptoms (itch, sneezing, watering and congestion). It works by reducing inflammation in the nose and also tends to ease eye symptoms. It is not clear how it helps the eye symptoms - but it often does! It takes several days for a steroid spray to build up its full effect so if possible, it’s best to start using the spray before they hayfever season begins. Steroids can also be used in addition to antihistamines if symptoms are not fully controlled by either alone. Antihistamine eye drops can be used to ease the symptoms of itchy and watery eyes, and can be used in addition to other treatments which is useful when the pollen count is high and you are struggling to remain comfortable by using your normal hayfever remedy alone. If your hayfever is severe your doctor may suggest a course of desensitization therapy which involves a course of injections introducing the allergen (in this case pollen) under the skin. Alternatively a steroid injection may be used. There are other things you can do to reduce your symptoms. • Keep an eye on the pollen count and try to avoid spending long periods outdoors when it’s high. • Keep windows and doors shut. • Avoid cutting grass, large grassy places, and camping. • Shower and wash your hair after being outdoors. • Avoid drying clothing and bedlinen outdoors. • Wear wrap-around sunglasses when you are out. • Keep car windows closed and consider buying a pollen filter for the air vents in your car. These should be changed at every service. • Try smearing a small amount of Vaseline around your nostrils before you go outdoors. It’s thought to trap some of the pollen particles, reducing the amount you inhale. • There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that consuming honey produced by bees in your local area can offer an alternative to desensitization therapy because it contains tiny amounts of the pollen that triggers your hayfever.


Only half of eligible people take up vital bowel screening ONLY half of those invited for potentially life-saving bowel cancer screening in the Western Trust area take up the invitation, a senior doctor has said. Dr William Dickey, Clinical Lead in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy with the Trust was speaking as part of a campaign to increase awareness of the disease during April, which was National Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

He said: “Bowel cancer is the second commonest malignancy in Northern Ireland, with 1000 new cases and 400 deaths due to bowel cancer every year. Around 1 in every 18 people will develop bowel cancer. However, if it is diagnosed early the outlook is very good indeed with a survival rate over 90% and the prospect of complete cure. Unfortunately by the time symptoms develop many cases are advanced. The purpose of screening is to detect bowel cancer at an earlier stage.” He continued: “Since screening started four years ago, we have diagnosed 59 cancer cases through the programme of which the majority were picked up at an early stage. I cannot stress enough the importance of early intervention. Unfortunately only half of

those eligible in the Western Trust area take up the invitation to be screened.” Dr. Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Public Health Agency (PHA), said: “The bowel screening programme has been operating for 4 years in Northern Ireland and has detected over 300 cases of cancer. We are delighted that we are now in a position to offer screening to a wider age range of the population and from 1 April, the programme includes all men and woman aged 60-74. “Men and women who are eligible for screening receive a test kit in the post at their home address. It is important that your GP has your most up-to-date address and correct date of birth or you may miss the chance to take part in the programme. The simple home test kit can be completed easily in the privacy of your own home and returned to the laboratory for analysis. The kit is used to detect traces of blood in the bowel motion, which indicate that further tests need to be carried out. Most people who are tested will have no blood in their bowel motions and will be invited to repeat the screening test again in two years’ time. “Latest figures show that only 53% of people in Northern Ireland who are receiving test kits are actually using and returning them. The PHA and Western Trust would therefore strongly encourage anyone who receives a test kit, to carefully read the enclosed information leaflets to help make them a full informed decision about participating. Screening offers the best chance of early detection of bowel cancer and the earlier it is detected the more successful treatment is likely to be.” Common symptoms of bowel cancer include frequent need to go to the toilet, diarrhoea, blood in the stool, a lump in the abdomen and anaemia. If you have any questions about screening and what it involves, visit

Coll fills the dance floor for Marie Curie in Fintona

Johnny McLaughlin who organised the fundraising Drew Young, Joe Barrett, Ann Hamilton, dance in the Legion, Fintona Moya McCallion and Ruth Keys at Fintona on Saturday night pictured R. B. Legion last Saturday night at the with the star of the show Marie Curie fund raising dance. Brian Coll.

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As it was to where it is now No. 87

Andy Gordon

I had the opportunity to do a bit of walking – maybe that should read hill climbing – on Easter Monday. Simon, his girlfriend, her father, and an assortment of other bodies of varying ages and shapes, had arranged to climb Slieve Gallion. Early that morning I was tipped out of both my slumber and bed, and informed that the day was dull, but dry – a bit like Magners Cider – and so, with my excuses going unheard, our walking belongings gathered, we headed for Lough Fea, in the foothills of Gallion. Now if you’re going to Slieve Gallion here’s a tip - you’re better starting from anywhere but Omagh! Much better to start in Cookstown, Moneymore or Magherafelt. However the journey there left me with yet one more get-out clause, as I had high hopes of it raining, and the trek being cancelled. Alas, apart from a few spits, the rain held off and we soon found ourselves walking out of the car park and on towards the climb. Our party was split evenly – five of us oldies, and five representing the next generation - so I was keen to see how we matched up to the young ‘uns! It is a two mile walk before you get to the start of the real climb – ample time to get acquainted with the others. Some were frequent walkers, some casual trekkers and then ourselves – more used to the bike this last few years. As we proceeded to leave the road and take to the heather, I noticed one of the young brigade checking her phone every now and then, and thought: “Typical, can’t leave it for two minutes – what’s the world coming to?” Whoever is responsible for the route up Gallion has to be congratulated, as there are posts with yellow markers all the way to the summit, so there is no danger of drifting off course, even in the mist. Yet again the phone was consulted. Our Simon, being Simon, decided that following posts was no fun, so he headed back down a different way! We left the marked route and after many climbs and descends and traverses, we found ourselves back just about where we started our descent! And once more the phone appeared! “Much signal here?” I asked her sarcastically. “No – I’m checking the route.” I retreated with my bright red face after she informed me that she was consulting a walking\cycling programme – Strava – which follows your course, tells you how far you’ve gone, at what speed and elevation, and even how many calories you have used! And it appeared that Simon really had us going round in circles! A great walk, great company and quite a few calories burnt off – sunshine to end the walk; all in all, a splendid day’s activity. With the phone embarrassment still playing on my mind, and as I checked my Facebook page later, it came to me! A very dear friend of mine regularly posts a map of her training runs. She actually comes past our house, and of her 10 kilometre omaghtoday | 18

& andY

run, the slowest kilometre is up the hill, past our house, so I am thinking of leaving her some form of sustenance at the cattle grid to help her out! Rifling through the pages I find it – MapMyRun - a similar programme to Strava. Why haven’t I noticed the potential of this for our bike runs? This is perfect for our many excursions – no more estimated distances, exaggerated times or optimistic feats of endurance! So I downloaded Strava. It took all of a Saturday morning to do it, and when we tested it on the Sunday morning run, my phone battery extinguished and we got no details at all! Ah well, we oldies may not have the technical know-how of the young ‘uns - but we left them for dead on Gallion!

Charlie Taggart

There are many country artists who, although fairly well known and talented enough to make a comfortable living in the business, never really made it to the big time. One such artist was Minnie Pearl, who is the lady in question on the Johnny Cash song ‘If I Told You Who It Was’ from the new ‘Out Among The Stars’ album. Minnie Pearl, a member of ‘The Grand Ole Opry’ show from 1940 until her death in 1996, was recognised as country music’s foremost comedienne. She always wore a straw hat with a $1.98 price tag and played the part of a gossipy, man-chasing spinster. Her real name was Sarah Ophelia Colley, a classically trained actress and drama coach from Centreville Tennessee. In her autobiography she tells interesting anecdotes about other artists including Hank Williams. She was not really impressed by him on their first meeting, but on seeing audience reaction to his performances, she realised he had some indefinable talent and was a hard act to follow. In 2008 Marty Stuart produced a coffee table book of photographs with the title ‘Country Music: The Masters’. A full-page photograph of Minnie Pearl’s shoes is on page 74 and a full-page photograph of her hat is on page 75. Minnie Pearl was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1975 as, in the words of the bronze plaque honouring her, ‘the first country music humorist to be known and loved worldwide’. Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1938 in Delight, Arkansas. His early influences were jazz, pop and country music, and several of his songs were played on the radio lately to acknowledge his birthday. He has had a long and successful career in the smooth pop country field, but his first album released back in 1962, ‘Big Bluegrass Special’, is a great mixture of folk, blues, and traditional country. Campbell recorded an excellent version of the Jimmy Webb song ‘Highwayman’ before Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson had a number one hit with it. He published his autobiography, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, in 1994 and has now retired from the business due to his decline into Alzheimer’s disease. Glen was inducted into The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2005 and received a Grammy Life Time Achievement award in 2012. In 2012 Glen’s daughter Debby Campbell collaborated with author Mark Bego on a book titled ‘Life With My Father’. In the prologue Mark Bego describes the strong feelings expressed by his co-author as “multifaceted and deeply touching.” I found the style of the book difficult to read and strangely short of interesting information about Glen Campbell the star, and more about the stresses and strains of an extended family. Jimmy Webb, who wrote several of Glen Campbell’s hits, was quoted in an interview last year saying: “For Glen to be admirably suited to the songs I wrote, and vice versa, was just a wonderful kind of magic that was written in the stars.” A woman rushed into the hardware shop and said: “A mousetrap please, and hurry I have a bus to catch.” “Sorry lady,” said the shop-keeper. “None of the mousetraps we’ve got are big enough.”

Omagh woman releases self-penned charity single THE loss of a loved one is something all of us will unfortunately have to experience at some time in our lives, and many people will be able to empathise with the feelings of sorrow, despair, anger and hopelessness that are hallmarks of the grieving process. After losing her husband to cancer in 2011, local mum Kerry Irvine channelled many of those feelings into fundraising and increasing awareness of the disease that killed him, while privately searching for a more personal way to express her feelings of loss – and after meeting NI singer/ songwriter James Huish, she was inspired to write her very own love song as a lasting tribute to her soul mate. Due for release later this month, ‘Heavenly Blessings’ was co-written by Kerry and her friend Kelley Spacey along with James, and is sung by well-known Belfast musician Jolene O’Hara. The lyrics will resonate with anyone who has ever been bereaved – feelings of numbness and inability to go on giving way to taking comfort in memories and joy in the knowledge that love transcends even death – but the song itself wasn’t originally intended for anyone else’s ears! She explains: “I met James when he compered our annual fundraising party last year. During 2013 I’d had a couple of photo sessions that were just for ‘me’, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the photos – I didn’t want to just put them in a book, but I didn’t make the connection with James. Then in February this year he put out a message on Facebook that

he was willing to work with anybody interested in writing a song for a loved one for Valentine’s day and that’s when I decided I wanted to write a song for Noel, and use it to make a slideshow of images from my photoshoots, as a tribute to the love we shared. “I met Kelley through an online support group and she is into writing poetry – mostly funny stuff – so I asked her to help me with some lyrics and she kindly agreed. We wrote the whole thing in about two hours and sent it to James. He said he could definitely work with those and asked us to leave it with him.” James added some of his own ideas to the song to give it structure, and recruited Jolene, who regularly sings with him on stage, to do the vocals. “I’m not the most patient person,” admits Kerry, “so I kept emailing him to see if it was nearly ready and then eventually one evening he rang me and said he couldn’t send me the song as it was away being mastered, but he could play it to me. So he went off to make a cup of tea and left me listening to it down the phone and I was just blown away, I absolutely loved it. It’s my story, but I think anybody who has lost someone they love will be able to relate to it. “Originally it was intended only for me and my close family and friends to hear, but James said he felt it was one of the best things he had worked on for a while, and whether I would consider using it to fundraise. I was a bit taken aback at first because the song felt so personal to me, but I also know that when it comes to raising awareness, it’s the real stories that are the most effective. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve anyway so I decided to go ahead, and donate the proceeds to Pancreatic Cancer Action.” Kerry’s song will be available to purchase via iTunes and Amazon shortly, and the music video, created by Pancreatic Cancer, will be available via her website www.purpleposse. as well as the Purple Posse Facebook page.

Country Days with

George Poet

‘We have no time to stand and stare’ – the complaint of poet William Henry Davies rings truer than ever more than 100 years after it was first published. But amid the rolling hills of Tyrone, our newest columnist George Poet will regularly be taking time to stop and observe the beauty and poetry that’s happening daily all around us, if we only take the time to notice. Join us for a breath of fresh, country air amongst the hustle and bustle of modern living…


ello folks, it’s great to be joining you in this week’s edition. Spring hath sprung and the long winter has left our shores for another year. What a treat to see new life abounding in our gardens and in the surrounding countryside! The sun rises over the brow of the hill near to half five now which sets the birds off in a chorus of good mornings. How I treasure this quiet time, the peace and calm, as though I were the only solitary soul breathed into existence. The birds joyful on the quiet air singing thank you and good morning. Their song only heard by me and a fortunate few, perhaps the milkman, the coal man and the grocer, maybe you! I’m rearing calves at present; black and white Friesians. The sweet smell of the hay mingled with powdered milk greets me on the first task of the day. The four girls are pleased to see me and even more delighted when I produce the large whisk I use to mix the milk. Breakfast is served and it’s all over in a few hungry draws from the pail. Tootsie is never too far from my side when there’s milk to be had; he rubs his sleek black body against my leg, purring in anticipation of the creamy white treat. When he’s had his fill I often find him in the round barn fast asleep on a straw bale. I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing more contented than a sleeping cat on a soft bed. The daffodils are in full bloom and I’m delighted with them - our old farm lays on a hill so the daffs appear later than those in the valleys. Nonetheless, they are a most welcome guest and their stay is only too brief. It’s a time for washing and painting, preparing and planting; patience will bring its reward. Ah, to breathe in the spring To absorb her vitalizing qualities You are a welcome friend And you bring me hope . I see how the world responds to you As a fair lady who rings a bird song bell, gently calling “awake, awake, the cold is leaving.” You call the swallows to you and they return to your hand Crossing oceans and mountains to answer you. Arise the snuffling badger from your slumber Long evenings await you on your favourite paths Arise the brown rabbit and wash your face And enjoy the sweet grass of the meadow once more The ancient oak opens his gnarled fingers His sleep has been deep and dreamless Old as time, slow and patient He knows her sweet song better than all. Your friend,

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Omagh’s Showgrounds Monday Variety Market Pictorial

INF hold dance for Alzheimer's Society fund

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A future

From the construction industry to the election trail, Beragh man Ciaran McClean is passionate about green politics – and it’s got nothing to do with taking sides. WHEN he left school at 15 with no qualifications to work as a labourer on a building site, Beragh man Ciaran McClean wouldn’t have ever believed he could be standing for local government elections and campaigning on, above all things, environmental issues. But Ciaran, who will stand for the Green Party in Omagh next month, is living proof that in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat; through travel and independent study he has broadened his horizons significantly and now he’s hoping to bring some of that unique perspective to bear on his local area. He explains: “I was born and raised on the Main Street in Beragh; my childhood home was the old police station which still has the ‘jail bars’ on the windows! I come from a family of 12 who are well known for playing a part in community life in the area. I left school aged 15 and worked in the local construction industry before going to London at 18. Afterwards I travelled and worked all over the world for 10 years with long spells in New York, San Francisco and Sydney, all of which was a very educational and a horizonbroadening experience. Like many who made similar journeys, I returned home with a different perspective on how Northern Ireland could be. “My best learning experiences were gained whilst travelling, but I saw the value in returning to full time education and began at Omagh College 1998, gaining enough qualifications to allow me to do a full time degree in Humanities at Magee. I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies.” Today, Ciaran works with the Mental Health charity, Praxis, and is part of the Community Mental Health Team with the Western Trust. “As a support worker for elderly people with mental health issues, my role is enhancing the quality of life of elderly people, some of whom live quite an isolated existence, both in geographical terms and family terms,” he says. “I find it very rewarding to work as part of

didn’t do that and instead wasted around £100 million that could have easily upgraded the existing road to a very safe standard. That attitude towards politics is something I hope to change if elected. “New councillors to a new system will have to take on board the reality that we are not a ‘special case’ in Northern Ireland anymore, they will have to work for the common good as opposed to narrow self-interest for their parties if we are to move forward positively.” The proposed goldmine in Gortin is another matter Ciaran is passionate about and aside from the environmental impact, he says he’s also keen to make politics more transparent in this regard: “Politics in Northern Ireland is being polluted by ‘donor secrecy’ laws, laws that mean big business can donate huge amounts of cash to political parties without the public ever knowing how a community-focused team that makes such a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s a bit different from working on a building site!” The May elections won’t be Ciaran’s first foray into politics – back in 1996, he stood for Democratic Left in the Northern Ireland Forum elections. He says he’s been inspired by his experiences in other countries, and his frustration at a lack of progress in Northern Ireland, which he feels is a direct result of socalled ‘tribal’ politics. He says: “Back then, as now, society was in need of new politics and modern, realistic perspectives. I passionately believe that environmental issues are replacing outdated political dogmas which often serve the few at the expense of the rest of society. Take the A5 for example, which has been a very emotive issue in this area. The ill thought-out proposal died when the Irish Government said they could not afford it. The Executive parties could have said ‘fair enough’ and walked away without losing face. However they

"I passionately believe that environmental issues are replacing outdated political dogmas" much, or what they got in return for that donation. That method of doing politics is just plain wrong and unfit for the 21st century. Add flags, tribalism, and insensitive nationalist/unionist marches to the equation and you get a ‘back to the future’ system unfit for purpose. If we keep voting the same way we will keep getting the same results. I offer myself to the voters as someone who has demonstrated that there are more honest ways of doing politics.” Strong words – but Ciaran’s not all serious! In fact, the father of three is also a keen musician and you can catch him playing with his friends in their country and blues band, ‘Stone Resistance’ at the second ‘Egg Cup and Whiskey’ festival in Gortin on May 2, and also next month at an event celebrating the life and work of Sixmilecross poet, WF Marshall (details to follow).

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

Friday 2nd may

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

DJ Connor Coates (BlastFM/Kellys/Evissa)

£2.50 drinks

Saturday 3rd may

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 Mike McKee 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

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

Saturday 10th may

Friday 9th may

O v er 1 8 s - A D M . £ 5 b e f ore 1 1 . 3 0 pm , £ 7 a f ter . open 9 pm

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

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

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£2.50 drinks

10 Year Omagh School Reunion

DJ Connor Coates (Blast FM) & DJ Matthew Large 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

Visit our Brand New Website

MAIN STREET STAGE saturday 3rd may

saturday 10th may

The Kicks

Chasin Hooley


Saturday 3rd may

DJ Delbert Saturday 10th may

DJ Delbert



Happy Mondays

from 3pm to closing EVERY TUESDAY

Pub Quiz

Saturday 3rd may


Saturday 10th may


from 9.30pm every thursday Karaoke from 10.00pm Friday 2nd May

Davy K

from 8.00pm

followed by Paddys Disco Friday 9th May

Left Hand Drive from 10.00pm

followed by Paddys Disco

Hen/Stag & party packages available Rue 028 8225 7575

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Perfect for chic drinks: Floral peg leg trousers, Florence & Fred at Tesco.

Perfect for holidays: Black floral playsuit by Missing Johnny, available at She.

Perfect for parties: Sequinned floral playsuit with plunging neckline, Miss Selfridge.

Perfect for afternoon tea: Pastel floral midi skirt, Dorothy Perkins.

Forget ditsy prints – florals are big news this summer and it’s all about blowsy pastel blooms and clashing, acid brights…

Perfect for city chic: Floral cami and shorts combo, Dunnes Stores.

Perfect for a nod to the trend: Floral beaded necklace, Accessorize.

Beautiful bespoke

Perfect for weddings: Floral dress with long peplum, River Island.

It can be tough to find the perfect accessory for a special outfit – something that captures your sense of style and matches what you’re wearing – which is where talented people like Colleen Maguire from Omagh come in! Jewellery designer Colleen’s business Ella Rose Handcrafted Jewellery specializes in creating totally bespoke pieces using Swarovski crystals, pearls and semi-precious stones as well as quality lace and fabrics, so no matter what the colour or the overall look you’re after, she can make your ideas come to life. As a recent newlywed herself, Colleen also excels at bridal jewellery and co-ordinating adornments for bridemaids, mums and more. She created her own bridal necklace using a string of her grandmother’s pearls for a very personal ‘something old’ – and will be delighted to discuss any similar commissions with brides-to-be. Visit Ella Rose Handcrafted Jewellery on Facebook for more info or call ?????????/

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 Egg surplus Damn that Easter bunny. I was doing so well, I’d near enough clawed my way back onto the ‘clean eating’ wagon until he came and left an avalanche of chocolate eggs all over the garden for the kids. Rumour had it that Mrs Easter Bunny, who normally oversees the ordering of eggs for the small people in my household, was assured in advance by Mr Easter Bunny that he would handle proceedings this year. She told him it was no trouble; she could merely order the eggs from a vast selection on offer via the website of an online supermarket she uses to order her carrots and other groceries from each week, and have them delivered right to the door of the rabbit hole with no hassle. But Mr Easter Bunny was insistent – he was sure there were better deals to be had by going out himself to forage in the aisles and he told Mrs Bunny in no uncertain terms to leave it to him. He’s capable of doing one job without her interference, for goodness’ sake! Trouble was, on the evening he had promised to go searching for eggs, Mr Easter Bunny got sidetracked by a football match on TV, and the following evening, he had plans in advance. So Mrs Easter Bunny, being a canny sort of rabbit and knowing that chocolate eggs are often in high demand by bunnies on Good Friday, took matters into her own hands and pre-emptively purchased a couple of eggs, just to be on the safe side. They were slightly more expensive due to limited stock, but Mrs Easter Bunny knew that was a small price to pay to avoid the disappointment of children on Easter Sunday. Mr Easter Bunny, on the other hand, was indignant and immediately hopped off in a huff to prove her wrong. He returned, half an hour later, with a sheepish look on his face and the dregs of the eggs that hadn’t already been snapped up by other rabbits in preparation for the big day. “Some egg hunt this is going to be,” said Mrs Easter Bunny as she surveyed their less-than-impressive haul while Mr Easter Bunny washed his face with his paws and tried to look nonchalant. The following day Mrs Easter Bunny was out doing a few messages in the forest and when she happened upon some small eggs that hadn’t been spotted by the frenzied egg hunters the previous day, she snapped them up – unaware that Mr Easter Bunny had also, by visiting an outlying stash in the countryside, been able to boost egg stocks, resulting in an unprecedented spend on chocolate eggs and a now large haul that could probably have satisfied several households’ worth of children. As it was, I think both Mr and Mrs Easter Bunny were so exhausted from all the toing and froing that it was about all they could do to hurriedly conceal all the eggs in our back garden for my two children to find on Easter morning and as a result, it looks like we probably have enough chocolate to see us through the next three months. Which would be fine, if I could leave it for three months and it didn’t call to me in a small but seductive voice every time I walk past the cupboard. I keep talking about melting them down and baking with them to use them up faster, to which the hubber replies “you don’t HAVE to eat them, you know – they’ve a long use by date! You need some willpower!” – all the while helping himself to a few chunks every time he has a cup of tea. Husbands, Easter bunnies – who’d have them! omaghtoday | 25

Doreen’s a mum in a million! With Chloe Kerr

Midi Madness This midi skirt has been around for a while and is definitely here to stay; it has been revamped this spring/summer season with different fabrics such as tulle, lace and floral prints to keep it fresh. Fitted or flared this shape is flattering on almost all body types which is why it has stayed popular over the past year! The high street has seen a wave of feminine flared midi skirts in a wide range of colours and fabrics. This season’s obsession with pleats goes perfect with the trend. Whether you prefer a wide-set 50s style pleat or a tight fold for a girlie, flirty look, this details makes a big difference to the skirt style. Midi skirts are also the perfect canvas for SS14’s floral trends, wear watercolour prints and bold blooms for a versatile, edgy look or for a more feminine look, a pastel pallete is the look for you. Bold patterned skirts look great paired with a classic plain top. If floral isn’t your thing, opt for a solid colour midi skirt, this will add more versatility to your wardrobe too. Team with a baggy print t-shirt for a casual look or a sweater for those cooler evenings. Of course, this look harks back to the 1940s and the 1960s, if you’re worried about looking a bit too retro team your skirt with a modern staple such as a leather jacket, a crop top, a baggy slogan sweatshirt and a pair of high heels (don’t wear flats unless you’re really tall) If you prefer the more fitted, sexy, pencil style midi skirt, don’t fear they are still on trend! Pair a plain one with a slogan tee or a patterned one with a plain top. A trend seems to be emerging within the fitted midi skirts, which is lace and sheer – a seemingly demure below the knee skirt is actually a mini skirt with a sheer overlay, perfect for those not ready to bare their legs just yet!

WHEN Orla Mullin and her team the Loft Bridal launched their ‘Mummy Makeover’ competition in Omagh Today earlier this year, they weren’t quite prepared for the number of nominations and the incredible stories they would receive about amazing local mums and everything they do for their families! The girls were overwhelmed by the response to the competition – with so many wonderful mums out there more than deserving of the top prize of a day’s pampering – but after much deliberation they finally decided that Wendy Irwin’s nomination of her mum Doreen Smyth was their pick of the bunch. Wendy, who is vice-principal at Gibson Primary School, didn’t tell her mum she’d entered the competition and got the shock of her life when she found out she’d won – but after reading her moving nomination, there’s no doubt Doreen was a worthy winner of the prize, which included a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from Floral Temptations, hair and make-up by Shauna Grugan, style for both mum and daughter from the Loft, shoes and accessories from Carino and a private photoshoot with Julie Gallagher to preserve memories of the day forever. Wendy’s nomination read: “Always understanding, truly inspirational, constantly caring, kind and fantastically fabulous – just a few words I would use to describe my mum, the wonderful Doreen Smyth. Widowed at only 29 with three young children aged 5, 3 and 18 months, my mum has lived her life for her children and now for her grandchildren. She managed single-handedly to raise us and put each of us through university and has always been supportive in everything we chose to do. She has taught us to love and to try our best at everything and to believe in ourselves. She has been both a mother and father and to be honest, I really don't know how she did it, especially when I was a 'trying' teenager. “She continues to support us in every way possible, from buying us gifts, to helping us with raising our children and even doing the odd basket of ironing! She is always there to call upon day and night and not a day passes when I don't see her or talk to her. She truly is my best friend and although I don't tell her very often that I love her and appreciate everything she does for me, I could not cope without her constant support. She is a true inspiration and I know that if I do half as good a job at raising my own children I will have succeeded. As Abraham Lincoln said, 'All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother' - and I certainly do.” Wendy admits that Doreen was a little shocked to say the least when she confessed that not only had she entered the Mummy Makeover, but had won it – but the whole team put her at ease on the day and made it a magical experience for both mum and daughter. “The girls were fantastic,” she said, “and I was so surprised when Orla said they were going to give me a makeover as well and it was a lovely experience to share with mum. It’s not the sort of thing she would normally do and she was a bit nervous beforehand but the girls put her at ease and by the end of the evening she was just on a high. We will treasure these photos and I can’t thank Orla, Julie, Judith, Shauna and the team enough.” Orla at the Loft added: “We were totally overwhelmed with the amount of entries and would have loved dearly to have chosen them all. When I read the letter from Wendy on why Doreen was a mum in a million I was in tears! I could feel the bond between them although I had yet to meet them, and after doing the shoot with them that just strengthened. They were a pleasure to work with and it was all very emotional.” Photographs courtesy of Julie Gallagher Photography

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Gorgeous girls and dapper dudes at first Arvalee formal

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

must see!!

Omagh Children’s Festival Strule Arts Centre, May 14-17, times and prices vary

There’s a huge treat in store for discerning little people this month as the first Omagh Children’s Festival gets underway at Strule, with a packed and varied programme to enchant children of all ages. The festival kicks off with Ballet Theatre UK’s charming performance of the classic ‘The Little Mermaid’ on May 14, and over the following days you’ll be treated to Butterfly Ballet workshops from the Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Lyngo Theatre Company’s ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, Replay’s contemporary ‘A Boy and his Box’, Indigo Moon’s take on the classic Rudyard Kipling tale, ‘The Jungle Book’, Young At Art with their theatre production for the very young, entitled ‘The Butterfly and the Caterpillar, Clydebuilt Puppet Theatre with their wonderful version of ‘The Gingerbread Man’ and also ‘Peter and the Wolf’ for slightly older audiences and finishing up on May 17 with a full day of children’s art workshops to suit all ages and interests. This four-day festival promises to be a wonderful introduction to performance arts for children as young as two and offers something for all the family. Log on to now and plan which performances you want to see!

Taste in the West Strule Arts Centre, tonight (May 1), 7pm, £7

Join the team at Strule for their first ever food festival celebrating the very best in local food products and services, with special guest and NI Good Food Ambassador, Jenny Bristow! Jenny is a firm believer that good food is the best medicine for everyone and is passionate about the abundance of fantastic, home grown produce available right here on our doorstep! As NI Good Food Ambassador, Jenny actively supports and encourages local businesses and ingredients. All these ingredients are the essence of what this evening is about as Jenny demonstrates a variety of recipes which are quick, simple, healthy – and above all delicious.

The Merry Month of May Vintage Fair Silverbirch Hotel, May 4, 1pm, £1

Oma Fair Lady is back and bringing the best of vintage style to the Birches for one afternoon only! With a vast selection of stunning and unique items for your summer wardrobe and home, the venue will be full to capacity with the most desirable vintage summer wear, jewellery and accessories as well as homewares, handcrafts, gifts, sweet treats and much more. A number of new stallholders as well as regulars from previous events will be there for this wonderfully nostalgic and fashionable day out not to be missed. omaghtoday | 28

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

2nd May Farleys Bar, Beragh, Breacach Handball Club are holding their table quiz from 10pm. All support appreciated. 3rd May White Lightning, Village Inn, Killyclogher 4th May Seskinore YFC Annual Charity Tractor Drive, leaving Tyrone Farming Society Showgrounds at 2pm. Registration from 12 noon, £10 per tractor 4th May Silverbirch Hotel, ‘The Merry Month of May’ Vintage Fashion & Homewares Fair, 1pm to 5.30pm 2-4th May Jamboree in the Park, Ecclesville Centre, Fintona. See advert for details. 5th May Mullaghmore House Garden Centre Open Day, from 9am. 6th May South West College hosts Sweet Sensations, a pop-up shop selling some yummy sweet treats, cakes, buns, scones etc some sweets and chocs. Money raised will go to The JDW Fund. Raffle on the day. 9.30am to 2.15pm 9th May We Banjo 3, Strule Arts Centre, 8pm, £12. 10th May ‘Mr Music’ three-piece group from Monaghan, Village Inn, Killyclogher. 10th May Bill McCutcheon & Friends perform a tribute to Hank Snow, Jean’s Country Music Store, 1.30-4pm. 16th May Allingham Arms Bundoran, Gareth Pritchard Launch Night, 9pm to 1am. A great night to be had by all. 17th May Car Boot Sale and Craft Fair, Hospital Road Community Centre, 9am-1pm, all proceeds to Pancreatic Cancer UK. 24th May The Killyclogher 10K Road Run, together with a 5K Fun Run and Walk @ 11am 30th May Terry McHugh presents ‘Reservoir Dad’, Strule Arts Centre, 8pm, £7. 7th June Omagh Hockey Club Annual Mixed Sixes competition. Fancy dress is a must! Starts 12.30pm, £15/£10 per person, includes food and entry to disco. 21st June Keep free for Annual Big Breakfast and Cycle Challenge in Eskra. Also week ending 28th June – keep free for the Flaxpullers’ Festival, Drumduff. 27th June Phil Mack Country Music Show, Armagh City Hotel, tickets available at Jean’s Country Music Store.

LET US ENTERTAIN YOU AT STRULE Looking for a great night out - then look no further this week than your very own Strule Arts Centre. For the first two days in May, Strule Arts Centre Omagh will be celebrating the best in local food produce from the west of Northern Ireland. Strule Arts Centre will be host to an array of trade stands showcasing the best in local food products and services. In addition, there will be special cookery demonstrations by renowned chef Jenny Bristow and a series of exciting seminars and workshops for local school children held by key professionals in the areas of health and nutrition. Tickets are available at £7 for an evening Cooking Demonstration by Jenny on Thursday 01 May at 7.30pm. On Saturday 3 May at 8pm The Henry Girls will be performing at Strule Arts Centre. The Henry Girls are fast becoming one of the most talked about folk/roots acts to come out of Ireland in the last decade. Their sound blends classic traditional Irish folk music with a hint of Americana, with a nod to bluegrass and gospel. Tickets are £12/ Con £10. On Friday 9 May at 8pm We Banjo 3 will be performing at Strule Arts Centre. The awardwinning quartet from Galway, Ireland combine Irish Music with Old-Time American and Bluegrass influences to reveal the banjo’s rich legacy and roots. When this band of brothers take flight in a wave of virtuosity, verve and joie-de-vivre, feet tap and pulses race. Tickets are £12 and selling fast! On Saturday 10 May at 8pm Chrisy Mc Cullagh

and the Secret Animals will be performing at Strule Arts Centre. Chrisy McCullagh and The Secret Animals are a rare thing on the Irish music scene at the moment - a band that can mix the solid foundations of well crafted melodious song writing, with a dynamic sound and arresting live performances. They are not afraid to take risks and as a result have been picking up plaudits wherever they play. Tickets are on sale at £9. From Wednesday 14 May to Saturday 17 May Strule Arts Centre celebrates its very first Children’s Festival! Over the four days, there will be an array of workshops, performances and activities. On Wednesday 14 May, Butterfly Ballet Dance Workshops will be taking place throughout the afternoon. At 8pm on Wednesday evening, join Ballet Theatre UK on this dramatic re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s all-time favourite story of The Little Mermaid, who falls in love with a human Prince and gives up everything to win his love. Tickets are £18/ £16 con / £10. On Thursday 15 May at 4pm Jack and the Beanstalk will be performing at Strule Arts Centre. In this classic tale, Jack sells his cow for some magic beans and finds himself in the land above the clouds. It’s a show for the over 3’s (and their giants) with something for everyone – enormous shoes, tiny houses, showers of silver and gold and a big, leafy explosion! Tickets are £4/ £12 (Family of 4). Add to this our most varied programme of exhibitions, films, workshops and classes you are sure to find something for all tastes!

UPCOMING EVENTS Performances The Henry Girls Word of Mouth Agency presents Saturday 03 May @ 8pm £12/ Con £10 We Banjo 3 Friday 09 May @ 8pm £12 Chrisy McCullagh and the Secret Animals Saturday 10 May @ 8pm £9 FESTIVALs Taste in the West - Food Festival Shop Local: Trade Stands Local Produce Thursday 01 & Friday 02 May Cooking with Jenny Bristow Thursday 01 May @ 7.30pm £7 Jenny Cooking with Primary Schools & Mothers and Toddlers Friday 02 May 10.15am FREE Strule’s Children’s Festival The Little Mermaid Ballet Theatre UK presents Wednesday 14 May @ 8pm £18/ £16 Con/ £10

01 May - 15 May 2014 Jack and the Beanstalk Lyngo Theatre presents Thursday 15 May @ 4pm £4/ £12 (Family of 4) A Boy and His Box Replay Theatre Company presents Friday 16 May @ 3.30pm and 6.30pm £4/ £12 (Family of 4) Gallery Omagh Quilters Guild Presents An Exhibition of Quilts and other Crafts Friday 09 - Saturday 24 May @ 10am - 5.30pm Workshops Children’s Festival – Butterfly Ballet Wednesday 14 May @ 3.30pm, 4.00pm, 4.30pm and 5.00pm £2 Per Session/ Age 4+ years Portrait Club Wednesdays 07 – 28 May @ 11am – 1pm £5 per Class Films Frozen Saturday 31 May @ 11.30am Tickets £3 / Special Family Ticket: 1 Adult and 3 Children £10

Box Office: 028 8224 7831 or Book Online:

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Acclaimed ‘We Banjo 3’ set for Strule gig THEIR debut album ‘Roots of the Banjo Tree’ won Irish Times Trad Album of the Year and Album of the Year in the Chicago publication Irish American News and now Galway-based trad quartet ‘We Banjo 3’ will be bringing their unique brand of Irish music to the Strule Arts Centre with a gig on Friday May 9 at 8pm. The award-winning quartet from Galway, Ireland combine Irish music with OldTime American and Bluegrass influences to reveal the banjo’s rich legacy and roots. When this band of brothers take flight in a

wave of virtuosity, verve and joie-de-vivre, feet tap and pulses race. Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley are among the most celebrated and distinguished young musicians in Ireland today. Featuring banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals and percussion, We Banjo 3 make a bold and extraordinary musical statement. Creativity, sensitivity and passion are present in full measure and Irish music is at the heart of what they play. For more information on upcoming events visit

Carmen’s Centra and friends raise £1640 for cancer charities

A charity dance, organised by Centra, Carrickmore, was held in Loughmacrory GFC Clubrooms on Friday, 4th April to raise funds for Action Cancer and Termonmaguirc Cancer Patient Comfort Fund. A great night of craic was had by all and the total amount raised was £1640.

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Images of Omagh & District from times past...

Right: Pretty ladies at a ‘Pretty little girl from Omagh’ final in Knock na moe Castle Hotel in 1990. Below: Garvallagh Primary school had a fine football team, under the guidance of Harry Bratton, many years ago. These lads are now have much less hair and are in their mid thirties. Below right: Enjoying sports day in Carmen over 30 years ago.

Left: Madly in love at an Eskra dinner dance in the Knock na Moe Castle Hotel 26 years ago. Below: Many years ago there was a local band called Movita Touch starring Patricia Molloy, Gerard Colgan, John Flood, Jimmy McGirr and Ann Molloy. Jimmy and John moved on to the Secrets, Gerard concentrated on his career and the Molloy sisters met the love of their life, married and retired from the circuit.

Above and left: Couples relax at a Drumquin function in the Royal Arms Hotel many years ago. omaghtoday | 31

Country boy

Leereturns Matthews to his roots

WHAT have Daniel O’Donnell, Snoop Dogg, Hugo Duncan and Westlife all got in common? You’d be forgiven for thinking ‘not much’ - but for one new local country singer they have one very important thing in common – him! Castlederg’s Lee Matthews has performed with all of these music industry greats in his short career so far and at just 25 he’s gained an impressive amount of experience, from singing with some of Ireland’s icons when he was just a nipper to performing as part of a boy band in America and finally finding his groove in the genre he’s loved all his life. As a nine-year-old Lee performed on stage with the likes of Daniel

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O’Donnell, Brian Coll, Philomena Begley, Michael English and Hugo Duncan. Country music is something he grew up with at home and he got more involved with the local scene as he got older, finally getting his ‘big break’ when he represented Ireland in Los Angeles at The World Championships of Performing Arts, where he won a gold medal for an original song and also brought back silver for his cover of Garth Brooks’ ‘The River’. Like his counterpart Derek Ryan, Lee was asked to front a boyband and spent a few years in America that led to him performing with Westlife, McFly, Shane Ward and The Sugababes. During his time in America Lee was spotted performing at Kool and the Gang’s 60th birthday party in Orlando and was asked by a record company A&R in LA to feature on a single with rap icons Snoop Dogg and IYaz. “It was fun to be on the track with Snoop and fly to Italy to make the video but what I really wanted to do was write great songs and sing in a country band like Rascal Flatts,” he smiles. The teenager continued to write country music in his own time and it was while in the US that he discovered a whole new dimension to country, inspired by a new generation of artists including Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and The Zac Brown Band, as well as legends like Garth Brooks. “In America I got a buzz from seeing the country scene explode with a new generation of young country artists making country cooler,” Lee says. “When I got back to Ireland I was so excited to see that Derek Ryan and Nathan Carter were also making country cool again here. It’s such a buzz to be back on stage again singing great songs that people love and enjoy dancing to. The people in Ireland appreciate good country music and they go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The first couple of gigs I did this year people were coming up and thanking me and shaking my hand and just talking country music, it’s great.” Lee made his debut on the Irish scene back in February when he appeared at the Allingham Arms Hotel – and it’s been a rollercoaster ever since! Most recently he was crowned ‘New Male Vocalist of the Year’ at the Hot Country Music Awards in the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena and he’s already attracting huge attention both locally and nationally. With songs such as ‘Sadie’s Got Her New Dress On’ and the self penned ‘That Country Girl’ proving to be huge hits on local radio stations and the dance floors of country music venues around the country and in the UK, Lee is excited to be touring Ireland with his six-piece band. “People are loving our set list and I can’t wait to take the show round all of the country venues in Ireland,” he says. “I’ve made a lot of friends in the country music scene since the first single was released, and it’s just got better and better with the new single and the current tour.” Lee is currently busy behind the scenes compiling his album which fans are requesting every night he plays live. Lee has several tracks already recorded and is releasing his third single in June to be followed by his debut album later this year. 'The video for his current single 'That Country Girl' was released last month and has already featured on all the main country music channels including The Hot Country Show, Ireland West Music TV and the new country channel The Lawrence John Show. Looking back on his musical journey as a learning curve Lee is grateful to all those who opened doors along the way. “I have come full circle,” he says. “When I was in America I got the opportunity to realise what I was missing as I listened to great country artists and songs on the radio there every day. I knew country music was in my blood. Music is my life and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love - sing.”

Charmaine celebrates her 30th

Popular Camphill employee Charmaine Humphries pictured at her 30th in the Coach Inn last Saturday night. Charmaine is pictured top left, with her mum Lorraine and top right with Gary Weir.

Siobhan McDermott celebrates her 50th in Daly's

Four generations, birthday girl Siobhan Wee Buns, Gerry McCusker with the McDermott, second from right, with her mum birthday girl Siobhan at her 50th Madge, daughter Laura and grand daughter birthday bash in Daly's on Saturday Amy Lee. night.

Birthday girl Siobhan McDermott with her brothers Colm, Anthony and Eamon McNamee at her 50th birthday bash in Daly's on Saturday night.

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Lisnacrieve school re union in Fintona Golf Club

Betty Ballantine, Phil McCarney, Noelle Barr, Jean Kerr and Robert Graham rekindle memories as they study old John McConnell and Aidan McBride at the Charlie McConnell and photographs and cuttings about Lisnacrieve P. S. at the school re union. The school close to the Harvey Foster view one of the school re union in Fintona Golf Club last Saturday night. Fivemiletown road, Fintona closed in 1961. Lisnacrieve class photos.

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Lemon cake

For the decoration Using a grater grate long slices of the skin of one of the lemons, place in a saucepan with some water and half of the sugar, boil for one minute, drain and pat dry. Spread out on a piece of baking parchment and sprinkle over with the remaining sugar, then leave to dry, preferably overnight, in a warm place. Squeeze the juice out of the peeled lemon and set aside.

This is a cake I was asked to make recently, and it turned out really delicious so I thought I would share it with you all. It's up a level in terms of difficulty but well worth the challenge. This cake needs to be done over 2 days and serves 12 nice slices You can choose lemon or orange or indeed one of each - it depends on your own taste. For the decoration: 1 whole lemon 2oz / 50g caster sugar For the cake 2 small lemons 10 oz/250g soft butter 10oz /50g caster sugar 10oz / 50g self raising flour 2 tsp baking powder 4 large eggs For the filling 2oz / 50g butter 6oz / 150g icing sugar 10oz / 250g cream cheese

For the cake You will need two deep 8 inch cake tins lined with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Place the two whole lemons in a saucepan of boiling water and boil until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove from the water, cool for ten minutes and then place both lemons in a blender and blend until smooth but with still some chunky bits. Remove from the blender and remove any seeds, then set aside. In a bowl add the butter, eggs, sugar and flour. Mix until white and fluffy then add half of the pulped lemons to the mixture and divide evenly into the tins. Bake for 30 minutes until a light golden brown colour. Remove from the oven, set aside for ten minutes and then remove from the tins. Whilst waiting on the cakes to cool prepare the cream cheese filling. In a bowl cream the icing sugar and butter until very light in texture, then add the cream cheese and mix until all is blended together. Cut both cakes in the middle to give four layers. Place the bottom layer on your serving plate, add the remaining lemon mixture to the cream cheese mix, spread some of the mix over the base, then add another layer and repeat the process until you have four layers, remembering to keep some for the top and sides. To finish, sprinkle on the decoration as per the picture. Leave in the fridge to chill for at least four hours, or preferably overnight.

Cappagh YFC members host parents evening

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

Masonic cheque Cappagh YFC’s newest office bearers and YFCU president Mr Martyn Blair. CAPPAGH Young Farmer’s Club celebrated the end of their winter programme by holding their annual parents and supporters’ night recently with the presentation of awards to members who had made various achievements throughout the year. The night got underway with a short meeting where the office bearers gave reports on the closing year before some club members entertained the guests. Matthew Wilson and Zara Preston read out their speeches which proved successful for them at the County Public Speaking competition and a number of members from Cappagh’s choir showed off their musical talents by singing. Guest speaker for the evening was YFCU president Mr Martyn Blair who presented members with awards for their achievements over the Omagh Masonic St. John's 334 present a cheque for £1000 to Ivan past year. Members are now looking ahead to a busy summer Gilmore, Chairman of the local Care for Cancer group. programme! omaghtoday | 35

Talent, passion and enthusiasm – the sky really is the


nyone who knows me, will know that I have a son, Paul, who has Downs Syndrome. They will also know that my job in South West College is working with a collection of people who, like Paul, has some degree of a learning or physical disability. You could not imagine how difficult it is for me to type that paragraph. And do you want to know why it was difficult? Well, I just don’t see these people – my friends – as disabled. They are, one and all, as able as you or I or anyone else in this area. And that is why I have been excited about a project – Skyzdalimit - that has been running for the last few years, and has caught the imagination of a group of other like-minded people in Omagh, headed by Pearse McCloskey. In his eyes he has the most talented group of artists to work with in this town. If you have any doubts about that, could I invite you along to the Silverbirch Hotel at 7pm on any Monday night to watch these actors rehearse and omaghtoday | 36

go over the planning for their next show – I guarantee that you will be hard pressed to get out of there without offering your services to them in some form. Skyzdalimit is just what it says on the tin. For these young – and not so young – artists, the sky really is the limit. When they kicked into action four years ago, no one – except maybe Pearse – could have imagined them playing to sell out audiences in the Strule Arts Centre or the Alley Theatre, Strabane. They all but brought the house down with their interpretation of ‘Grease’ – the first performance of the show in Northern Ireland by such a company, bringing BBC cameras and crew to cover the event for the Breakfast Show! This was followed up with a sort of ‘Grease meets Mamma Mia’ which sold out the Strule for two nights. Edel, one of those on stage, does her work placement in Dunnes, and her manager, Glenn, not only came to the show, but brought another ten staff with him! The press said: “A roller coaster of human emotion – never have I witnessed such joy, energy and excitement”; a mother said: “My daughter has gone through life as the underdog. Tonight she shone like the star she is, and has gained so much confidence”; a father said: “Other families need to see this show to give them hope for the future” I cried - and am crying now - as I remember Conard McAleer singing from his wheelchair, alone in the middle of the

stage. But that’s what happened, and continues to happen, because this June they bring their ‘Blues Fever’ back to the stage. Now if you look up the Strule programme you may not find a night with ‘Blues Fever’ on – but you will find a show called ‘The Blues Family Horror Show’. That was the title when the programme went to press, but, as I say, this band of brothers - and sisters - are their own people. They felt, as the rehearsals went on, that the title wasn’t punchy enough, so they changed it! You don’t mess

So you might want to be careful around this band of skilled actors, as they don’t believe in taking any prisoners. They play and work hard. with these hombres! So you might want to be careful around this band of skilled actors, as they don’t believe in taking any prisoners. They play and work hard. No one leaves without having sorted out what needs to be done for the next night. And they call a spade a spade! None of your degrees of tact here. If they don’t like something, well, they just tell you what

limit as Omagh performers prepare to tackle their latest musical theatre project...

they think! I could delve into the aims and objectives of the group, but you can get that from their website, and I could tell you that it’s a cross community performing arts charity for people with a learning\physical disability, sensory\visual impairment and nondisabled peers, but that’s by the bye. Suffice to say that, as it is a charity, it is dependent on funds coming in from differing sources. There have been, and will be in the future, a number of the usual schemes to try to keep the venture afloat, but Skyzdalimit is always a hand to mouth organisation, and that is why recently they were delighted in getting a grant from the Arts Council NI. The grant – a Startup Programme grant – enabled the group to employ two experts to help with the preparations for this year’s show. Margaret Geelan concentrated on improving their acting skills, and helped prepare the cast for their performance at the council’s Community Showcase – a performance that, once again, brought the house down, and, according to a photographer who attended all shows, was the stand out act of the four nights. On

Saturday afternoons, Aoife Toner has been working with the group as dance tutor – not that they thought they needed any more help with their expert moves! They soon realised that there was a whole lot more to learn on the dance front and have thrown themselves into the classes with their usual

vitality and energy – even Paul! So, if you want to see the results of all this extra help, and would like to have the school year end with a bang – literally – run along to the Strule box office and book your tickets for ‘The Blues Family Horror Show’ on 28th June. But, be warned – do it soon - as the place has been inundated

with requests for tickets since the programme came out. After all, who could resist booking when they turn to page 22 and see a picture of some frightening dudes and dolls demanding, at the end of a machine gun, that you come to the show! By the end of the night you will have laughed, cried, jumped up and down and be on your feet giving them a standing ovation – I guarantee it. This is a wonderful group of actors, volunteers, helpers, and family members, all being led from the front by Pearse – he even directs from the front when they are on stage, compensating for that bit of confidence they perhaps left behind in the dressing room. If you would like to be part of this explosion of talent, or just want to lend a hand, talk to him at the end of the show - it could be the start of a surprisingly eventful journey for you. It has been for many! omaghtoday | 37

Austin Club outing

Pics: Ed Winters

Members of the Ulster Pre Austin Club pictured during their Spring run which travelled from Omagh to the Pigeon Top, on to Sloughan Glen, Baronscourt, Mountjoy , Michelle Butler’s Ceramic studio and finishing off at the Silver birch Hotel.

Across 1 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (4) 3 Move forward (8) 9 Unvarying (7) 10 Cricket trophy (5) 11 Aviator (5) 12 Small wave (6) 14 Despot (6) 16 Bicycle for two (6) 19 Two-channel sound (6) 21 Afghan capital (5) 24 Preliminary period (3-2) 25 Australian marsupial (7) 26 Monday to Friday (8) 27 Drink made with fermented honey (4)

Down 1 Spectrum (anag) (8) 2 Warble (5) 4 Comment (6) 5 Clutch (5) 6 Breathed out (7) 7 Neither good nor bad (2-2) 8 Plantation product (6) 13 In work (8) 15 Entourage (7) 17 Acid neutraliser (6) 18 Scandinavian country (6) 20 Fast (5) 22 Intrepid (5) 23 Front of a ship (4)

Easter fun day at Fr. Shields' Camogie Club, Greencastle

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Pics: Jason Moncrieff

McClintock Children’s Centre Easter coffee morning

Trillick’s Peter Pan Playgroup on the run

Trillick came to a stand still on Saturday morning as Peter Pan Playgroup held their annual fancy dress Easter Parade, the children along with their families held a sponsored walk around the town to raise funds for Peter Pan. There was a fantastic turn out and the glorious weather made for a lovely morning for everyone involved.

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around the

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

Amateur radio enthusiasts pass their exams West Tyrone Amateur Radio Club (WTARC) recently held a foundation amateur radio course in the Technology Centre, Omagh, County Tyrone. Pictured are the successful candidates who took park in the two day course followed by an evening exam two days later. Details of further courses and information on amateur radio can be found at the club website. or by contacting any club member.

Oisin Conaghan, MI6LJO. Raymond Russell, MI6VJR. Greg Parke, MI6GNP. Christopher Rafferty, MI6EJT. Monthly club meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month in the Technology Centre, Spillars Place, Omagh. You are welcome Phil James, MI6PCJ. Sean McElmurray, MI6SFK. Vincent Brogan, to attend if you require further information. MI6TYR. Kenny Pearson, MI6EDX. Tina Rafferty, MI6ECV.

Probus club hosts authors of history book of fascinating book

IN 2013 Lisburn Probus Club published a book of members' recollections of growing up in the 30s and 40s. Its title 'Blue Remembered Hills' was the choice of Hugh Gillespie who initiated the project and developed it with the help of Probus Member, Derek Shuter. Hugh and Derek were the guest speakers at Omagh Probus Club on April 16 and

provided a fascinating insight into how the book came to be written. Hugh recounted how he regretted not quizzing his parents more about their childhood and for the benefit of his own family, wrote a personal account of growing up during the 30s and 40s in Northern Ireland. This exercise encouraged him to invite the members of Lisburn Probus Club to commit memories of their childhood to paper. Their response provided enough material for a book for which the artist in Hugh provided the illustrations. Derek [on the left in the photo] read selected passages for the Omagh Probians, clearly evoking memories among many members and resulting in the sale of a good many copies of the book. Pictured left are Derek Shuter, Jim McBain [Probus President] and Hugh Gillespie.



15 MAY

Gerry McGonigle presents Omagh Ladies Probus Club who won the Omagh section of Right: Probus Club President Jim McBain presents the Londonderry team with the Eakin Shield after they won the Inter Probus quiz in Omagh Golf Club. Left: Omagh the Inter Probus quiz with their trophy. Probus Ladies with the McCrory Cup following their victory in same. omaghtoday | 40

Legion ladies don their Easter bonnets Left: Christine Smyth, 3rd, Wendy Brown, 1st and Eileen Garvey, 2nd. Right: Runners up, Betty Breen, Betty Brennannaman, Cis Gibson and Margaret Rutledge.

CBS entrepreneurs prepare to pitch for NI title

STUDENTS from the ‘Iluminight’ Young Enterprise Company at Omagh CBS went to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast recently for a workshop with their mentors from Price Waterhouse Cooper and aimed at helping them to improve their presentation skills. The young entrepreneurs have been named ‘Company of the Year’ for the Sperrin Lakeland area and tomorrow they have the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of top business minds as they compete for the Northern Ireland Company of the Year title. The overall winner will be announced at a glittering ceremony on May 14 at Belfast City Hall.

Funding boost for ARC

MINISTER for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill, was in Omagh recently to celebrate the securing of £10 million in grant funding to help rural-based entrepreneurs set up and develop their own businesses. The Minister was joined by members of the joint council committee for the ARC North West rural development programme at the Ulster American Folk Park for the official announcement of this very significant milestone. Councillor Allan Rainey, who chairs the committee, said: “This investment is a boost to the rural community as a whole. The projects supported to date are contributing to our rural communities and helping to ensure that they remain vibrant places to live, work and play.”


Bespoke design at Mountfield Kitchens THE kitchen is the heart of the home and a place where technology, the pace of modern living no matter what the style of your home. cutting edge design and aesthetics meet to create functional Mountfield Kitchens are also suppliers of top-class appliances by spaces that are as practical as they are beautiful. top names such as Neff, Bosch and Caple. At Mountfield Kitchens, clients can avail of no less than 35 years’ When you’re happy with your choices, your new kitchen will experience of doing exactly that – creating tailored solutions to be lovingly handcrafted to the very highest standards by the your kitchen needs, making life that little bit easier with clever experienced team in the workshop at Mountfield Kitchens before design and the latest appliances, and allowing you to express your being expertly installed with minimum disruption for a flawless individuality with bespoke design that works in your home. final result. Whether it’s a timeless kitchen in a wooden or painted finish, or Proprietor Michael McElhatton says: “We first opened on May 1, a sleek and contemporary design featuring high gloss doors and 1979 and over those 35 years we have grown and moved with the stainless steel, you’ll find it all and times, offering our customers the more at Mountfield Kitchens. best products and services. We Experienced staff are on hand to now offer 3,600 sq ft of showroom make your kitchen dreams a reality, space showcasing 21 kitchen offering a full consultation before displays as well as a number of preparing 3D drawings of potential bathroom and bedroom settings designs to help you fine-tune your that are constantly changing. As new kitchen’s final look. Whatever well as the design, supply and your taste or budget you will be installation of quality bespoke spoilt for choice; in the newlykitchens we have carried on this refurbished showroom an extensive service into the refurbishment of array of door and worktop options existing kitchens so whatever your is complemented by the very latest needs, we pride ourselves on being mod cons – think pop-up storage for able to offer a tailored solution.” your TV, knife block and spice rack; For more information call a tap that delivers instant boiling 028 8077 1226, visit www. water and loads more ingenious Michael McElhatton Junior and Gerard McCullagh planning a or find inventions that will help you match new kitchen in the workshop. them on Facebook. omaghtoday | 41

Sunny day puts ‘Spring in the step’ of Beragh runners More than 500 runners and walkers made their way to sunny Beragh for the fifth annual Beragh 5 Road Race at St Mary’s GAA Park on Saturday 19th April. Stephen Duncan (Omagh Harriers AC) won the five mile race in a new course record of 26:02. Runner-up was Adam Boyd (North Belfast Harriers) in a time of 27:20.

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First female runner over the line in the five mile road race was Patricia O’Hagan of St Peter’s AC Lurgan in a time of 31:36. Runner-up in the female open category was Pauline McGurren of Sperrin Harriers (32:11). In the 5K event, Michéal Mullin (Omagh Harriers AC) finished first in a time of 19:13. Runner-up was Matthew Neill (Omagh Harriers AC) in a time of 19:56. First female runner over the line in the 5K was Niamh Heaney (20:29). Mairead McCann finished first in the female open category in a time of 21:03.

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Gortin schools benefit from 10k/5k fun run Over 400 took part in the fourth annual Gortin 10K / 5K FunRun in the village on Saturday, 12th April. The well supported event was organised to raise funds for the two primary schools in the village and the nominated charities were Kidney Research UK and Clic Sargent. Results from the 10K were 1st Male – Glenn Phair, 1st Female – Pauline McGurren, 2nd Male – James Brown, 2nd Female – Ita Kelly, 3rd Male – Michael Murphy, 3rd Female – Marie McNulty Over 40 Male – Derek Sommerville, Over 40 Female – Anne Cook, Over 50 Male – Martin McLaughlin, Over 50 Female – Jill Parkinson, Over 60 Male – Francis Boal. Results from the 5K were 1st Male – Dylan Sloan, 1st Female – Maeve McKenna, 2nd Male – Patrick McCullagh, 2nd Female – Ann

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McNamee, 3rd Male – Matthew Neil, 3rd Female – Ruth McKelvey. The Principals of the two schools, Mrs Wallace and Mrs Grugan would like to thank the Fun Run Orgainising Committee and all the parents who worked tirelessly to make this a successful event and Michael Ward from Ward Sports Management. Thanks are also due to everyone who sponsored the event, Dalradian Gold (main sponsor) McKeowns DayToday (water sponsor), Ulster Bank, The Foothills, McKeowns Hardware, Mary Gray Childrens Group, the GAC who provided the marshals and everyone who helped on the day and most importantly everyone who took part in our run and walk.......all of whom helped to make our event such a wonderful success.

Fitness and fun for all the family at Omagh Tennis Club open day



THINK of tennis and you automatically think about Wimbledon; players in immaculate whites, strawberries and cream on the lawn and the unique scent of privilege in the air. But you don’t have to be an elite athlete or born with a ‘silver spoon’ in your mouth to enjoy tennis; it’s a fantastic sport that won’t cost you a fortune and is great fun no matter what level you play at – and Omagh Lawn Tennis Club is on a mission to highlight this fact! Tucked away next to the Swinging Bars roundabout and barely visible from the main road, one could almost forget the local club is there – and so in a bid to let people in to see what it’s all about, and most importantly dispel those ill-founded perceptions that tennis is a ‘snooty’ sport, the club is throwing open its doors to the public with an Open Day on May 10. Organisers are keen to emphasise that you don’t have to be a certain age or gender, you don’t have to be super-fit or talented, you don’t have to have all the latest sports gear – you don’t even have to own a racket to get involved! On the day you can simply come along, look around the facilities, enjoy some refreshments and perhaps a chat with members or the club’s resident coach Mark Smyth, and discover a great club with wonderful opportunities to make new friends, get fit, entertain the kids and enjoy a vibrant social scene to boot. Membership is open to all ages, including children from four years old. One-to-one and group coaching sessions are available at all levels – even complete beginners – and the club strives to ensure that all members have the opportunity to find playing partners at a similar level so they can enjoy a game as often as possible. Internal leagues run throughout the year for men and women, singles and doubles, and for those wishing to progress to more competitive circles the club is also active in a number of leagues across Ireland. The club is currently working on a whole series of initiatives aimed at raising the profile of tennis in the local area as a sport that is suitable for all ages, and is great fun as well as being good for your physical health and mental wellbeing – so it’s perfect for families looking for a new activity to enjoy together, or friends looking to combine fitness with socializing. Member Linda Stewart explained: “We’re

Op en Da y Saturday 10 May 2 – 6pm

Come a long

Win a year’s membership Free Lessons For New Members Who Join On The Day Fastest Serve Competition Activities For All

a n d t r y t enn is

For Further Call Mark: 07936483597 Email: Information: 1 Crevenagh Road, Omagh. hoping people will come along to the open day not just to see the facilities and find out more about our membership packages, but also to experience the atmosphere around the place. The tennis club is sort of tucked away in a corner so people may not even realize we’re there – but it’s a great, vibrant club with lots to offer both in terms of tennis and also the social side. Even if you’ve never picked up a racket before, if you’d like to find out more then we’d be delighted to see you there.” The Open Day takes place on May 10 from 2-6pm; it’s completely free of charge and there will be an opportunity to win a year’s membership, plus free lessons for any new members who sign up on the day, a ‘fastest serve’ competition and lots of other activities to suit all ages. Why not call in and see if tennis is for you?

Would you like to advertise in Omagh Today? Email or telephone Brendan 078 8431 3385 or 028 8075 8078 omaghtoday | 45

Drumquin’s Easter Sunday Cycle Brian Lunney, co ordinator of the Drumquin Cycling Club’s Easter Sunday cycle gives instruction to over 100 cyclists who took part in the 35 or 50 mile run.

Killyclogher run launched

Pictured at the launch of the Killyclogher St Mary’s/Cappagh GAA Annual Killyclogher 10K Road Run and 5K Fun Run and Walk which will take place on Saturday, 24th May. There will be T-Shirts for the first 200 entrants. Pre Entries can be downloaded from the Killyclogher GAA website (www. or can be booked online on the Athletics NI website. omaghtoday | 46

WW Tyres sponsor Cappagh Spurs

Cappagh Spurs Girls senior team with coach Michael McGlade (left) in their new 2014 football kit kindly sponsored by Kenneth Weir, (centre),WW Tyres, Derry Rd, Omagh. Cappagh Spurs started their 2014 season in the NIWFA Concentrix Division 1 league with a fine 9 - 1 win against Banbridge Town Ladies at Youth Sport, Omagh on Tuesday night 22nd April. Cappagh Spurs club train at Youth Sport each Thursday night from 7 - 8 pm and would warmly welcome all girls aged 6 and over.

Cathryne Boyes, giving instructings to Young Mark Owens receives Niamh Tierney, while dad Mark and fly tying instructions from sister Caitlin look on. Paddy Keenan.

Felicity Clarke with her dad David The Tierney brothers Aaron, proudly show their sixth catch of Oisin, Peadar and Ryan who had a productive day at Altmore on the day. Sunday.

The scene at the CCAA Junior Open day at Altmore Fishery on Sunday where budding young Anglers (and a few more seasoned) received advice and tips on catching that elusive fish.

Camowen Well anglers, since my last column it’s all gone quiet on the Camowen front. Neither OAA nor CCAA have been posting online and it looks like it’s business as usual for both Associations. As I previously stated, for now at least, it will be up to individual anglers to decide which club to join to fish the Camowen. My advice, if it’s worth anything, is to join both clubs. The reasoning behind this advice is quite simple: if you are like me and enjoy the escapism that angling offers and you fish the Camowen to lose yourself to forget about your woes for a few hours, then presumably the last thing you want is an argument on the brew of Molly’s about whether or not your ticket permits you fish that stretch or not. I know this is sitting on the fence, and God knows I’ve been sitting on it for a couple of months now if you are to read my previous columns, but it really is the ‘anything for an easy life’ option. I don’t go fishing to have an argument (except for that one time when an angler gave me grief for wading ‘his’ stretch) so covering all eventualities seems like a logical conclusion to me. If, however, you’re a man of principle, or simply refuse to pay twice to fish the same river (quite understandable) then brace yourself for the possibility of being stopped by two sets of bailiffs looking for two different pieces of paperwork to tell you whether or not you can fish! Since the last edition I did manage to actually get out for a quick throw on the Camowen. Opting for neutrality I fished at Cranny Bridge for an hour using a few self tied black nymphs. I landed seven brownies and three salmon parr, and whilst none of my catch were ‘keepers’ it was a very relaxing 60 minutes spent well on a beautiful spring afternoon – and that’s what it’s all about, surely? Stockies Over the last couple of weeks temperatures have risen and fly life is on the increase; so too are the surface feeding habits of trout in our local rivers and lakes. Loughmacrory has been fishing pretty well from the boats with a few cracking trout being landed in the last fortnight. Birchwood fishery in Drumquin has been fishing very well also with decent catches being reported with plenty of double-figure specimens being brought to the bank. Annaginny has seen an increase in the trout activity and has improved greatly in recent weeks; Annaginny certainly is a great venue for all the family to visit by the way, with the farm animals and picnic tables that they also offer. I’m hearing good reports on Termon and the Rectory also and the stocky fishing, generally, is improving day by day. A final word on Altmore, which hosted a CCAA youth angling workshop on April 27, is fishing well on the fly and is a great venue for both novices on the worm or spinner and the fly angler – you should check it out if you haven’t already. On the coast A very brief update regarding the sea trout – it seems that the fishing remains challenging from the boat on the estuary at Ballyshannon, but the anglers persevering on the beaches are hitting some good trout. A few more dry days should decrease the volume of fresh water emptying into the Atlantic from Lough Erne and will hopefully entice some whites into the estuary. Hoping to have some rain between now and the next mag to lift the levels in the Omagh rivers to a fishable depth, but until then, tight lines! MC omaghtoday | 47

TheSideline Local sport insights ...

Valley claim towns Cup For the fourth time in their history Clogher Valley have claimed the Towns cup. Despite missing out on promotion to senior rugby, Davy Black’s side bounced back and once again proved their dominance of the local junior game.. The new look Ravenhill was bathed in glorious Easter Monday sunshine and a massive local support made the trip to the home of Ulster rugby. The Qualifying One champions in their 35th game of a

successful season turned in a workmanlike performance to seal a 15-7 win over Donaghadee. The Valley boys had to dig deep in the end though; ‘Dee’ went close but Barker's double penalty miss was punished fully by Black’s side who added a second try in the fourth minute of injury time when Andy Breen forced himself over in the corner to complete the scoring and seal the Towns'

Cup for the men from the West. Clogher Valley: P Armstrong; A Breen; D Dunlop; P Falconer; C Donaldson; P Holme; A Best; R Wilson; D Sharkey; S Baxter (cpt); M Treanor; E McKenna; R Primrose; K Cobane; P Moore. Replacements: R McAleer; N Orr; A Trenier; K Todd; BJ Wilson.

History in the making for Harps Strathroy Harps are on the cusp of a first Fermanagh and Western league division one title. The local side are very much in the box seat but Enniskillen Town United are still on their coat tails waiting on any slip ups by Seamus Fanthorpe’s side. Two games remain for Harps; Lisnaskea and Fintona Swifts are their opposition but Fanthorpe says it's not over yet: “We are well placed, we see the finish line ahead. As you know we set our stall out at the start of the year, so it’s great that we are so close but we will take nothing for granted, we have to get over the line first. We know what we have to do and we have the players to do it." The Harps reserves, meanwhile, have a date of their own this week. A 2-1 victory for the second string over Lisbellaw sets them up for a Rehill Cup final clash with Killen Rangers. The final is penciled in for Kesh at 7pm on May 2.

Strathroy Reserves who play Killen in the Rehill Cup final at Michael Connolly Park, Kesh on Friday evening with kick off at 7pm. Strathroy senior team will meet Fintona on their home turf, at Strathroy, on Saturday afternoon. The change of venue is due to the Ecclesville Jamboree and lack of parking facilities.

Uncertain future for two local clubs? While the future of Shelbourne may be hanging in the balance after their relegation and with rumours rife they may call it a day hopefully not - there was also a remarkable story doing the rounds last week - a story made all the more remarkable after weekend results. Neill McAleer called time on his tenure as manager of Strule United, prompting the notion that they too were hitting a rocky patch and may even be considering their future. Yet on Saturday past the local United’s second string claimed promotion to reserve division two with a superb 6-0 win over Derrychara United. It's been a good season for Strule and surely they will try and build on the success

of this year. Strule, Shelbourne, Dunbreen and of course Strathroy Harps carry a rich Omagh football tradition in the local game and a strong ‘Western’ element to the Fermanagh and Western league is important to the success of the junior league. The Tummerys, Fintonas and Beraghs all play their part in the local game, and without them all it would be a lot less appealing. It's expected a meeting over the future of the ‘Shels’ will be taking place before the summer, here's hoping those keen on the famous old club’s future will now step up to the plate and help those who have kept things going over such a difficult season.

Ulster Championship countdown The countdown is on now to the Tyrone Down Ulster senior football championship clash at Healy Park. Tickets are currently available and there's great news...the Ulster GAA are delighted to announce that ticket prices for the 2014 Ulster GAA Championships have been frozen for the 5th year in a row. The Ulster Championship will throw in on Sunday, May 18 with the eagerly anticipated clash of Tyrone and Down in Healy Park, Omagh. Interest in this year's championship is already extremely high and it is anticipated that demand in many cases will exceed supply. For this reason, we would urge patrons to purchase their tickets well in advance of match day throwin to avoid disappointment. Tickets for all first round Ulster Football Championship games are now available to purchase from County Board offices, and omaghtoday | 48

selected SuperValu / Centra stores. Once again, Under 16’s will be able to access non all-ticket games free of charge when accompanied by an adult, and there are also concessionary rates for students and senior citizens. Anyone wishing to apply for a disabled pass should do so on a matchby-match basis through their County Secretary. Commenting on the announcement of the ticket prices, Ulster GAA President Martin McAviney said this week at the championship launch in Belfast: “The Ulster GAA Championships are the highlight in the Province’s sporting calendar and we are delighted to announce that ticket prices have been frozen for the fifth year running. We have listened to feedback from our supporters and have reacted by maintaining our pricing structure,

increasing access to tickets and improving the overall match day experience. A key element of the Ulster Championship is the family friendly atmosphere and experience, and we are very proud that we can continue to offer free admission to Under 16’s for non all-ticket games, as well as concessionary rates for students and senior citizens so the Ulster Championships remain the best value games in the GAA calendar. We are looking forward to another colourful, exciting, entertaining summer of Ulster Championship action… nothing beats being there!” The championship opener at Healy Park will be preceded by the minor clash between the two counties. Don't worry if you can’t make it though, as there will be live coverage of the two games on Q101.

Strule United Reserves celebrate a successful year and promotion

Marty McKenna presents Gary McConnell with a bottle of champagne for his role as team captain.

Man of the Match Russell STRULE United’s reserves were celebrating at the weekend after a 6-0 victory Roberts gets a bottle of over Fermanagh side Derrychara that has won them promotion to Reserve Division Two. The impressive scoreline belied a tough match and manager bubbly from his manager. Marty McKenna paid tribute to his side’s gritty performance, which saw a hattrick from front man Ciaran McCaffrey and a further two from striker Micky Allen – bringing the pair’s tally for the season to more than 30 goals. Super sub Ricky Chisholm came from the bench around the 70th minute and scored a screamer just minutes later to seal the deal and secure division two football for the side next season. Manager McKenna paid tribute to his players and support staff in what was his first season as a football manager and only his second in local soccer. The Omagh man came to Strule United as a player just last season, having previously been heavily involved in both GAA and boxing locally. “It’s been a great performance all season and especially on Saturday, the scoreline didn’t reflect how tough that game was for the first 60 minutes. Hopefully our promotion will give the whole club a wee bit of a boost for next season. I would like to personally thank Niall McAleer for all his help and support with training and coaching this season and wish him well in all his future endeavours,” he said.

Drumquin lose out in a spirited battle with Spamount

Drumquin United looked as if they might edge a victory over Spamount at the weekend, with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. The scores were level agin by half time but a plucky performance by United swayed the odds in their favour until a late strike from ace marksman Thomas Mcmenamin clinched it for the Swifts - boosting the Derg side's hopes of survival in Division 2.

Harte eyes county league for player fitness As Tyrone build up to the championship game manager Mickey Harte is keeping a close watch on the highly competitive all county league. Three rounds have been played and the news on the county players is mixed. Harte will have been delighted to learn that on Sunday Omagh's Justin McMahon completed his third full game with any problems, the big man playing great football for St Enda's. He will also be happy to note that Stephen O’Neill returned to competitive action on Sunday afternoon. Having not played since last year’s All Ireland semi-final defeat at the hands of Mayo he came on for his club Clann na nGael and scored two points to help

them secure a narrow win over Aghaloo. It's not all good news though, as last Sunday, Joe McMahon, Colm Cavanagh and Conan Grugan were all unable to play because of injury issues. Fingers crossed for next Sunday’s final round! Ulster GAA Senior Football Championship 2014 Ticket Prices: Terrace - Adult £13,
Student/Senior Citizen £9,
U16's (all-ticket games) £5,
U16's (non all-ticket games) FREE. Stand -(covered/ uncovered)
Adult £20,
Senior Citizen, £13,
Juvenile (all-ticket games) £5
Juvenile (non all-ticket games) FREE. omaghtoday | 49



ROM One Direction to Justin Bieber, everyone loves a good celebrity story these days – and tales of the crazy antics of the rich and famous make just as many headlines as ‘real’ news stories about world events, natural disasters and scientific breakthroughs! Crazy some might say, but it’s a fact that we just love to follow the lives of famous people – and in many cases, their pets too!! Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Sharon Osbourne, George Clooney, Simon Cowell…these are just a few of the world’s most famous people who make no secret of the fact they are animal lovers. Here are a few of their equally famous pets, plus a few animals who have managed to get their names into the Hollywood history books…

The celebrity animals who are just as famous (if not more!) than their A-List owners!

Squiddly and Diddly the Yorkshire Terriers Fam

Bo Obama Surprisingly, one of the first questions the current President of the United States was asked following his election had nothing whatsoever to do with his policies. The burning question that the American public wanted the answer to was, what breed of dog the family would choose as the new presidential pet. After much thought it was Senator Ted Kennedy who presented the Obama family with the super cute Portuguese Water Dog called Bo.

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ous for his harsh putdow wannabe po ns to pstars, Sim on Cowell isn’t exactly renowned fo r being a softie – but he revealed his melting middle whe n he confes sed to being head over he els in love with a pair of miniature Yorkies with the most cu possibly tesy names we’ve ever heard! The pampered pu ps came to live with the king of pop in 2013 and enjoy the LA lifestyle with walks on th regular e beach, or ganic dog foot and naps at the foot of kingsize bed! Simon’s

Bubbles Jackson Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles were arguably one of the most famous twosomes of their time. Having adopted the chimp from a research centre the pair were soon inseparable, travelling everywhere together and usually wearing matching outfits. Despite their well documented friendship the frenzy of media coverage following Jackson’s tragic death meant that Bubbles appears to have been forgotten about. However, Bubbles’ demise proved just as dramatic as his two legged master. Suffering from a bout of jealousy after the birth of Jackson’s son Prince it was decided that the chimp should be exiled from Neverland. To this day Bubbles is still alive and well and currently living in an animal sanctuary.

Roselle the canine 9/11 heroine During the disaster which unfolded in New York City on the morning of September 11 2001, the only lifeline for a blind business man was his faithful guide dog Roselle. Michael Hingson was working on the 78th floor of the North Tower when American Airlines flight 11 smashed into the building. Amazingly, the trusty Labrador guided Hingson and his many colleagues out of the building through an inferno of blazing jet fuel and falling debris. At the horrifying moment when the building collapsed, Roselle once again saved her owner and his friends by guiding them through the chaotic streets of Manhattan to the safety of the Subway tunnel. Due to Roselle’s heroic efforts, Hingson and his colleagues were lucky enough to return home to their families that evening.

Socks the White House Cat US Presidents are well known for having a passion for dogs, however for the Clinton family, it was Socks the cat who took centre stage. The American Shorthair was adopted by the Clintons after he jumped into the arms of Bill’s daughter Chelsea as she was leaving her music teacher’s house. After President Clinton’s election, he moved with the family to the White House and became their principal pet and often accompanied them on visits to schools and hospitals. However Socks eventually lost his position as principal pet when the Clintons got their dog Buddy. Unsurprisingly Socks was outraged at the demotion and went to live with Clinton’s secretary Betty Currie until 2009 when he sadly died.

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