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Ronan and Lynn

Ronan Farrell from Hallsmill Green is currently undertaking the John Paul II Award. One of the elements of the award is to take part in some form of parish activity and Ronan very kindly offered his services to our website.

His first interview was with Mrs. Lynn Laverty.

 

Lynn, you are a big part of the Parish community what are your earliest memories?

My earliest memory of getting involved in the parish would have to be when I was only three years old. I joined a drama group that was put together by Noel Mc Evoy. The group was called Noel’s Nestlings, the ages of the children in the group ranged from around 3 years old to around 13 years old. It regularly put on various shows and performances. I remember it so well because it was the first show I had ever done and when I got on stage for the first time I sang the song “Hole in my Bucket”. Since then I have always been involved in many different Drama groups that have put on performances to raise money not only for the Parish but for charities and Africa.

I was also part of a group put together by Cannon Treanor, it was a youth discussion group that held discussions on different aspects of the Catholic Church. We often talked about different prayers and their meanings. I was 14 years old at the time.

You are a talented musician and singer, how does this help you with your Parish work?

After the unfortunate death of our organist, Rhona, I volunteered to play the organ at some Masses and special occasions where needed.  I have always sung at funerals and weddings at the request of the families and I also help out singing and playing as part of the choir at the Clare Chapel.

Tell us how you got involved in the Tullylish Youth Group?

Around about 15 years ago, Father Knowles came to Catherine Mc Evoy, Paula Jordan and myself and asked if we would put together a group that the youth of the community could get involved in. So we put our heads together and came up with the idea for a youth choir. It was called the Tullylish Youth Group (TYG). The group started off with around 60 children aged between 8 years and 16 years. We started off by singing at mass every second Saturday. Eventually we decided we would start doing a few shows. The first three shows we performed were all religious and they were performed in the chapel around Easter time. Our very first show was called “Resurrection Rock”. Every year after each show there would be more and more interest in the TYG, more and more children wanted to get involved and so many more younger children started to join.  We then started to do a wider range of shows such as “Annie” and the Wizard of Oz”. The most memorable of these was “Joseph”,

People were coming from further and further away to see our performances and we had more children in the TYG than ever. Also every now and again children from the TYG would stand in front of the altar and perform action hymns, which are simple hymns combined with actions from a simple form of British sign language called Makaton”.  I think the group was more important for the children than anyone else. It got them interested in Mass and got them involved more, for example the actions hymns they did. It also encouraged the parents to go to Mass more because they wanted to come and see their children sing and perform. At one stage in fact, the children were so involved they actually delivered the Homily, Catherine would help write a Homily and the children would practice it and deliver it at mass. The TYG ran for around 10 years in total and when it finished the ages of the singers ranged from around 4 years old to 18 years old. The reason it ended was because the leaders were no longer able to give it the vast commitment that was needed.

What other things were you involved with in the community?

As well as being part of many different Drama groups I frequently entered the “Scor”, which was run by the GAA. I was normally entered for Solo singing, balled group and Instrumental group and I was always very proud to represent my Parish. At one stage there was a Pioneer committee of Tullylish, it ran for around 3 to 4 years and in that time I was the secretary and I’ve been I pioneer since I was 18 years old. I was also part of the athletics club that used to be at the GAA club as well as doing Irish dancing at the Den. I did teaching practices in Laurencetown and Gilford and I also helped tutor 11+ students for their exam. In the past I was an administrator for the Parish website and I was involved in helping raise money for the parish through table quizzes. Currently I am a Eucharistic minister, distributing Holy Communion at various Masses.

What kind of work have you done with special children?

Apart from being Vice Principal of Oakwood special school in Belfast I also did some work locally. Special schools are always mixed schools which mean that the Catholic children don’t always have the opportunity to get their first Holy Communion or Confirmation like other primary school children. So I helped those children who wanted to receive those Sacraments and I joined the group my sister Paula ran for the Banbridge area preparing the children for their sacraments. Back to music, around once a month we would take the TYG to sing at masses for special children which were held in St. Anthony’s Church in Craigavon for all the special children of Dromore Diocese.

 

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