The first letter from the grieving widow was listened to with compassion at the Management Meeting of Mullaglass Clay Pigeon Shoot. After all at the time of his demise, Philip McGunn was the reigning champion and it was not an unreasonable request that after his cremation, his ashes should be scattered at the scene of his greatest triumph. He had won the Inter-County Championship several times. The request was quickly acceded to.
The second, explanatory letter arrived when all the Championship arrangements had been finalised. It explained that his friend Willie Winner would be representing the late champion this year. The cartridges he would be using were stuffed not just with the usual lead shot but also with Phil’s ashes.
Some members were determined to disqualify him, aware that fierce controversy might ensue. They were fearful of bad publicity in the event of Willie’s triumph.
A heated debate ensued but eventually the entry was reluctantly accepted.
The Judging Committee had no hesitation in declaring Willie the winner for he had clearly ‘hit’ more clay pigeons on the day than any other competitor.
An immediate appeal was lodged. The Panel of Judges was amazed to learn that the appellant was none other than Willie. His appeal was on the grounds that his friend, the late Phil had smashed all those clay pigeons with his ashes. It was his contention that Phil should posthumously be declared the winner.
The Management Committee was outraged that it had been so foiled and it was unanimous that the original decision should stand.
Legal counsel was sought. It advised that the Committee (and not the late Phil) did not have a leg to stand on. Phil McGunn was declared the winner.
The press, local, national and international had a field day. Phil McGunn’s name became a household word.
Willie and the widow were called before the Committee to explain themselves but mainly to get a good drubbing down. The Chairman concluded,
‘And we want your categorical assurance that such a ruse will never be repeated!’
‘Sorry. Can’t do that, Sir,’ explained the widow. ‘We promised Phil he’d go on winning for years to come.
We still have fifty cartridges filled with his ashes, for next year’s Championship and for all the following years!’
Our photo shows ‘Quinns for Value’ lorry delivering to Milestone O’Hagan St/Hill Street shop, now Dunnes. Beattie’s Shoe Shop is in the background, now Rocks’s. Number plate is a clue to the year. Can anyone help?