RICS “Community Benefit” award for Loughmacrory as Band announced to play in New York

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The community of Loughmacrory has seen significant developments in recent times, with the impressive £1m Community Development Project making considerable headlines in 2015. The launch of those new facilities created quite a stir in the area last June and a host of dignitaries from all over travelled to the venue to see the benefits of the new facilities to the area.

The impact of such a new development project in Loughmacrory was further recognised in Belfast then at the weekend when the project won the award for “Community Benefit” at the RICS Awards 2015 ceremony at Culloden Estate & Spa, Belfast. That award category also saw a Highly Commended for Tyrone as Tyrone GAA’s Centre of Education and Training in Garvaghey collected that accolade.

Declan Mc Aleer MLA, and chairman of LCDA, was naturally delighted with this latest recognition for the small mid-Tyrone community.

“RICS is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property and construction and we are absolutely delighted that Loughmacrory has achieved this prestigious award in recognition of the benefits of this project to the community. I also want to congratulate the Tyrone GAA’s Centre of Education and Training who were highly commended in this category.

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Loughmacrory was further recognised in Belfast then at the weekend when the project won the award for “Community Benefit” at the RICS Awards 2015 ceremony at Culloden Estate & Spa, Belfast

“Since the outdoor activity centre was officially opened last June, it has been a hive of activity for water sports, handball, football, walking, triathlons, angling while the gym has a wide range of programmes tailored to meet the needs of all people in the community. All of the events and facilities are run by volunteers and are accessible for everyone. We are tremendously proud of how the project has developed and are looking forward to the ‘Grand final’ which takes place in the Savoy, London in October”

Loughmacrory Accordion Band to play in New York on St. Patrick’s Day

This is another major boost to Loughmacrory but there has been a further eye-catching announcement now that the reformed Loughmacrory Band has been invited to play at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York on 17th March 2016. An incredible opportunity to play at what is surely one of the most reputable parades anywhere in the world.

The Band will be marching with the TYRONE SOCIETY in New York and will also be attending a series of other events with the Society when there…

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Loughmacrory Accordion Band, Páistí Ná Fingréine, was formed in the early 1970’s and is named after the largest lough in the Loughmacrory area, Lough Fingrean. The band was very active for over a decade and re-grouped again in 1987 for the official opening of St Mary’s Chapel in Loughmacrory. They spent the following 4 years ‘on the march’ around Fleadheanna, parades, sports days and competitions and were then largely inactive until 2009 when they re-formed to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Cumann Luthchleas Gael.

The official opening of Loughmacrory’s new sporting and community facilities in June 2014 presented an opportunity for the band to play a part.  This ushered in a revitalised determination to keep the band going and recruit a new generation into its ranks and the Band officially played then at the Tyrone GAA Senior Club Championship Finals Day in Healy Park last October.

This of course is another massive milestone in the resurgence of the Band and for a Loughmacrory husband and wife, who have both been there since the band was originally formed, it is a hugely welcomed announcement.

Marion McElduff (nee Grimes) is an accordion player with the Band and has been there since Peter Curran brought together a group of local youths to form the band over four decades ago.

“I remember the early years of the Band indeed and always loved being a part of it. Years ago we would’ve travelled all over with the Band and there would have been events on almost every other week for years with the Band. Obviously times have changed and in 1987 there was a short revival but really in the past year things have almost felt back to what they were in the early days of the Band again” said Marion reflecting on the early years of the Band.

The past year has been a busy one since the reformation for the launch of the new community project last year and Marion is, like her colleagues really enjoying the experience again.

“There is a fantastic buzz again with the Band. There has been so much going on in Loughmacrory in recent times and the Band coming together again was a great idea and has provided the opportunity for us all to meet up again. With so many of the original band back again and the introduction of so many new faces, it has been a very enjoyable experience again although I must say we have put in a lot of work too. The Tyrone final was a big day for the Band but the announcement that we will go to New York on St. Patrick’s Day next year has everyone very excited naturally. I have been to New York but never to the world famous St. Patrick’s Day parades. It is an amazing opportunity and you can only imagine how thrilled everyone in the Band is about this opportunity”.

Of course there is considerable excitement within the McElduff household as Marion’s husband, Aloysius McElduff, who has also been there since the Band formed, is the drummer in the Band while her daughter Eimear plays the tin-whistle in the Band and will also be making the trip to New York. A very musical family with Aloysius’ brother, Anthony, also an accordion player in the band as well as a number of full cousins in there too. For Aloysius this is a daunting challenge but a massively exciting one too.

“We are all buzzing about it with myself, Marion and Eimear all going to New York. We were in New York a number of years back but to be playing in Loughmacrory Band on St. Patrick’s Day in New York is something you could only have dreamed off. The past year has been great and the official opening in Loughmacrory was very memorable for the Band and indeed all the community. We will no doubt have to meet plenty and really put in the practice now in the year ahead. It will be busy but I think everybody within the Band is just that excited about what is coming up in 2016”.

A massive step indeed for the Loughmacrory Band and, in an era where the community is a hive of activity in a vast range of sports and other activities, the fact that the small mid-Tyrone village will be represented at New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parades by the Band is another massive headline in a short space of time.

Well done to all involved and Tyrone Life wish them well in their preparations…

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The Loughmacrory Band has been invited to play at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York on 17th March 2016

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