Margaret Anderson – unveiling report

Date – 22nd February 2018.

Location – Mourne Presbyterian Church Hall, Greencastle Street, Kilkeel, Co. Down. BT34. 4BH

Plaque sponsored by Ulster-Scots Agency.

Unveiled by – Charles Annett, great nephew.

Margaret Anderson known as ‘Mourne’s Florence Nightingale’ was born in the townland of Ballinran, Kilkeel but until recently had been largely unknown throughout Northern Ireland. In 1919, for her lifelong commitment to the nursing profession at home, in England and overseas, as a Nurse/Sister/Matron, she was conferred with the highest award for nursing service in wartime. M argaret  travelled to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from King George V.

Rev. William Bingham of Mourne Presbyterian Church welcomed parishioners and guests to the Church Hall, before handing over to Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle who introduced the plaque sponsor, Catriona Holmes from the Ulster-Scots Agency.  Catriona said that she was delighted that the community had heartily supported the blue plaque to the nurse from Mourne, and for her wonderful work which also included her appointment as Matron of the temporary hospital at the Silent Valley Reservoir, during the time of its construction.

A fulsome account of Margaret Anderson’s life was given by Patricia Mackintosh of Mourne Local Studies Group.

Charles Annett, the great nephew of Margaret Anderson spoke of his delight and pride at being asked to unveil the plaque, and regaled guests with some family stories. He told of the lantern given by the family to Margaret which she had used as she travelled in one of the ‘little ships’ to the beaches of Dunkirk to rescue the trapped soldiers in 1940. 

After the unveiling, guests were entertained to refreshments by the Ladies Church committee, during which time Anderson family photographs were on display. Many showed the dedicated nursing heroine from Mourne; no longer forgotten.

Photos from the unveiling event for Margaret Anderson Blue Plaque. Click on thumbprint photos to enlarge.

Nurse/Sister/Matron Margaret Anderson

Rev. William Bingham, Mourne Presbyterian Church and Bob McConnell, Kilkeel

Charles Annett, great nephew of Margaret Anderson, unveils the Blue Plaque

The Anderson extended families outside the Church Hall

Chris Spurr, Chairman, Ulster History Circle; Tony Lundy, UHC; Charles Annett, great nephew; Eunice Annett; Maynard Hanna; Alan Boyd, UHC; Catriona Holmes, Ulster-Scots Agency; Patricia Mackintosh ,Mourne Local Studies Group; Mairead Ferguson, UHC;  Rev. William Bingham.


Stephen Boyd – Unveiling Report

Date – 4th July 2018 at 12.00 noon.

Location – Moygara, 292 Shore Road, Whitehouse. Newtownabbey.  BT37 9RW.

Plaque sponsored by Abbey Historical Society

Unveiled by Tony Corbett, son of the late actress Valerie Corbett, and Vikki Dundas, President of Abbey Historical Society.

One of the oldest historic houses in Whitehouse, ‘Moygara’, saw the unveiling of a Blue Plaque to legendary actor and movie star of the 1950’s-1970’s, Stephen Boyd, born Billy Millar, in a house (long since demolished) and 50 yards from the plaque site.

Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, Chris Spurr welcomed the Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Councillor John Smyth, the family members representing the Millar family, the Corbett families, 

Members of the Abbey Historical Society and local Councillors.   The plaque funded by the local Historical Society from a legacy gifted by their late past esteemed member, actress Valerie Corbett, was unveiled by Tony Corbett, Valerie’s son, who with his family had arrived from London that morning. Together, Tony and Vikki Dundas unveiled the honour bestowed on local actor Stephen Boyd who had been largely forgotten in the course of history.

Roma Tomelty, daughter of the late great Joseph Tomelty, spoke of how her father had given Billy Millar his break in radio, in the successful series, ‘The McCooeys’.  Valerie Corbett had also played a part in the series. From Belfast to London and to the glittering lights of Hollywood, Billy Millar, known then as Stephen Boyd, became a Hollywood movie star of the silver screen.  Messages of congratulations from Danny Kinahan, former South Antrim Member of Parliament, and  the American Consul General in Belfast, Daniel J. Lawton, were read to the assembled guests.  American Independence Day and Stephen Boyd share the same Birthday..4th July.

Afterwards guests were entertained at nearby Abbeydene House, the home of a former Lord Mayor of Belfast and now owned by host Tim and Ethy Clifford .

Photos from the unveiling event for Stephen Boyd Blue Plaque. Click on thumbprint photos to enlarge.

Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle welcomes assembled guests

Tony Corbett and Vikki Dundas unveil the plaque

The extended families of Stephen Boyd with Deputy Mayor, Councillor John Smyth of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Chris Spurr, Roma Tomelty and Deputy Mayor John Smyth, with the families of the late Valerie Corbett

Vikki Dundas with members of the Abbey Historical Society,

Mrs. E.H. O’Doherty – Unveiling report

Date – 23rd March 2018.

Location – 29 Francis Street, Derry-Londonderry.

Plaque sponsored by – Derry City and Strabane District Council

Unveiled by – Cathal McCabe, grandson.

The second plaque in the five year Ulster History Circle partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council was unveiled by television and stage producer, Cathal McCabe who had travelled from Dublin to unveil his grandmother’s Blue Plaque at the house where she lived.

Behind St. Eugene’s Cathedral in the City, in a street that could well be renamed ‘Music Street’ (James McCafferty, founder of the Gaelic Singers lived at No.25 and the late great Joseph Locke also lived close by), a large crowd of guests heard Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, say that the contribution made by Mrs. Edward Henry (Rose) O’Doherty to the music of the City and its Irish Culture, was immeasurable.

Rose, as a music teacher and one of the co- founders along with Father McGettigan of the Feis Doire Colmcille in 1922, remained involved in her music and the Feis Doire now in its 94th year, until she died in 1969.  Thousands of young people and adults have travelled through its doors and some have become household names throughout the world, to name but a few, Phil Coulter, Dana, Roma Downey, and the Undertones.

Roisin Doherty, Curator of the Tower Museum welcomed guests on behalf of the Derry City and Strabane District Council, and said that the Council were delighted to be involved in this important occasion.  A special message from

the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and a native of Derry, Dr. Eamon Martin, was read out by Pat McCafferty, the musical director of the Feis Doire Colmcille. The Archbishop served as the Executive Secretary of the Feis in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Before unveiling the plaque to his grandmother, Cathal McCabe spoke of his memories of the lady whose love of music continued through his own musical career.

Guests then adjourned to the Tower Museum for refreshments and to listen to further tributes from family members, and a poetry reading by two young girls aged six and seven who had already participated in the Feis.

Musical tributes were from the well known singer Maureen Hegarty, and by St. Patrick’s Primary School, Pennyburn, where another of Rose’s grandchildren, Eamon Devlin is headmaster.  In 2013, the school won the BBC Junior Choir of the Year.

A long remembered, wonderful day in the Maiden City, honouring a very special lady, known throughout the Island as Mrs. E.H. O’Doherty. 

Click on the photos to enlarge image.

Mairead Ferguson, treasurer Ulster History Circle, Cathal McCabe, eldest grandson of Mrs. E.H. O’Doherty, and singer Maureen Hegarty.

l.r.-Pat McCafferty, Feis Doire Colmcille, Chris Spurr, Chairman Ulster History Circle,, Roisin Doherty, Curator, Tower Museum, Derry-Londonderry and Cathal McCabe.

Cathal McCabe, unveils the Blue Plaque to his grandmother, Rose.
Family and guests gather in front of No. 29 Francis Street, Derry-Londonderry after the unveiling.