Memorial night for Somme hero

Guests at the Sportsmans dinner. Included is Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann,
Guests at the Sportsmans dinner. Included is Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann,

The William McFadzean VC Sportsman’s Dinner was held recently in Craigavon Civic Centre - hosted by the Lord Mayor of ABC Borough Council, Gareth Wilson and sponsored by David Jameson Roofing.

The night got underway with Ancre Somme Association Honorary President, David Martin, welcoming all to the event. A rapturous round of applause circulated around the room as David welcomed special guests Mark Hateley, Liam Beckett MBE and Roy Carroll.

Ant Maher, Patron of the Ancre Somme Association;  David Martin, DUP leader Arlene Foster; Mark Jameson and Lexi Davison at the dinner.

Ant Maher, Patron of the Ancre Somme Association; David Martin, DUP leader Arlene Foster; Mark Jameson and Lexi Davison at the dinner.

A further welcome was extended to Lord Mayor Gareth Wilson, Ancre Somme Association Patron Ant Maher and various politicians including party leaders Arlene Foster MLA and Robin Swann MLA plus representatives from various councils including Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, Newry Mourne & Down, Mid & East Antrim and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.

A special mention was also given to the ASA Scotland members who were in attendance. David concluded by reading a letter from ASA Scotland Ambassador, Alexander Stewart MBE MSP.

Before the room fell silent everyone again put their hands together for the introduction of Ancre Somme Association Patron, Lt Col Ant Maher. As the William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society is a working group of the ASA Ant give an insight into the work being done by the Association across the United Kingdom. He then paid tribute to William McFadzean and the sacrifice made by William on 1st July, 1916.

After the meal it was then time for the first guest, Liam Beckett MBE, to take to the stage. As he conducted the grand auction Liam brought the house down with laughter as he interacted with various characters in the room. Between the auction and the raffle Liam helped the society raise over £2,000.

Special guests Roy Carroll, Liam Beckett and Mark Hately.

Special guests Roy Carroll, Liam Beckett and Mark Hately.

Liam then welcomed Northern Ireland and England internationals, Roy Carroll and Mark Hateley, to the stage. Both guests gave a fascinating insight into their respective footballing careers and also expressed their personal views on where football was, is and needs to be. Liam then opened to the questions to the floor.

Just before proceedings came to an end David Martin presented the three guests with gifts that will hopefully become personal reminders of the historic night and in particular the name William F McFadzean VC.

The climax of the event saw Mark Hateley drawing the winning ticket of the raffle with the prize being a William McFadzean VC Limited Edition cold cast bust. Congratulations to John Blemings who was fortunate to have his ticket drawn. For those who have enquired about the busts more information can be obtained by visiting www.williammcfadzeanvc.org.uk

As the night closed the special guests, like the true professionals that they are, made the time to chat, take photographs and sign autographs, right up until the very last minute. This was very much appreciated by all who attended the event.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart. Lexi Davison, DUP leader Arlene Foster, Liam Beckett and Cllr Terry McWilliams,

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart. Lexi Davison, DUP leader Arlene Foster, Liam Beckett and Cllr Terry McWilliams,

The William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that sponsored, supported and attended this event.

A spokesman said: “Your support has moved us one step closer to ensuring that the name William McFadzean and the sacrifice he made is never forgotten.”

Enjoying the Sportsmans Dinner organised by the local branch of the Ancre Somme Association.

Enjoying the Sportsmans Dinner organised by the local branch of the Ancre Somme Association.