Lottie in Derrybeg

Lottie and Owen settled into married life in Linenhall Square where their six children were born. Lottie recalled when soldiers were still barracked there and there were dances in the Army hall to which some local girls went.

Sometimes a girl would be attacked for fraternising with soldiers. She remembers a girl being thrown through a window just for talking to a soldier.

Lottie was interested in all community activities, including football. She recalled the great Mountainview soccer team that included such notables as Gene Farrell, Willie Fitzpatrick, Michael mallon, John (The Bum) Lundy and Joe Campbell. When they won the Bessbrook Cup the bonfires blazed throughout the area! There was a victory parade all the way home from Bessbrook.

Lottie herself organised a Ladies Football Team, doubling as Manager and Goalkeeper herself. Also on the team were Kathleen McParland, Lillian Cunningham, Lucie Hamill and Marguerite McKeown.

When the Top Talent Competitions were organised Lottie came into her own. She joined John Lundy in a series of hilarious comedy sketches for the Canal Street entry. In one show she brought a live donkey on stage! She also helped, with Alma Brown and Paddy Rafferty, to produce the shows. So popular did the shows become, that invitations to stage them came from many adjacent towns includuing Crossmaglen, Whitecross, Lurgan and Armagh.

In 1963 when the Derrybeg Estate was completed, Lottie and Owen moved there. Immediately she threw herself into affairs of the community, coaching local boys and girls in song and dance routines.

She also produced the show that represented Newry in the 1966 Top Talent Competition, participated in the Dundalk Maytime Festival with her ‘Dainty darlings’, staged shows in Newry Town Hall for the Gateway Club, won the top award in the Killeavey All-Stars Discoveries Contest and was presented with the Producer’s Cup in a competition at the Derrybeg Community Centre.

To celebrate her 80th birthday Lottie became the subject of a UTV special ‘This Is Your Life’ programme hosted by local man, Frank Mitchell. The surprise was sprung upon her at a concert in Newry Town Hall. What a joyous occasion that was as a host of friends, relatives and neighbours, as well as showbiz personalities who took the first steps on the ladder of success under her guidance, attended.

All paid eloquent tribute to this remarkable lady, a unique and big-hearted personality!

Editor’s Note:  Lottie has now gone to her eternal rest, but she will be long remembered!

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