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The diaries of a fallen soldier

John Rainsford talks to former BBC producer, Gerry Harrison, about his great-uncle’s secret diaries of the First World War. By John Rainsford   ‘Old soldiers never die (They Just Fade Away)’ says the barrack-room ballad but, with army comrades now thin on the ground, their written legacies are more crucial than ever. The life and death of Captain Charlie May of 22 Battalion, the Manchester Regiment, also known as the Manchester Pals, are surely a case in point. A journalist with the Manchester Evening News, he recorded his private thoughts in the lead-up to one of the darkest days of The Great War. These intriguing insights have now been published by his great-nephew, Gerry Harrison, a former actor and director, who resides in Kilmaley. “Charlie’s seven pocketbooks cover the period from November 7, 1915 to July 1, 1916, and the outbreak of the Battle of the Somme,” explained Gerry. “They also served as a love letter to his wife, Maude, …

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Sunshine, heat and avoiding problems

Summertime is a happy time of the year for most of us. BBQs, spending time outdoors in the sunshine, it makes us all feel happier. But what about our pets? Cats, dogs and horses wear their fur coats all year round and can’t take them off to cool down. So, it is up to us to make sure they are comfortable in the summer heat. Water, water, water, the most important thing in life. Leave a few bowls around the garden and check them regularly, even a shallow saucer for the smaller animals. All animals and insects need to drink and birds need to bathe to keep their feathers in good condition. Keep the bowls in sheltered areas to prevent evaporation. Walk your dog in the early morning or evening when the heat of the day has gone, and remember to carry water for both you and the dog. We wear shoes, dogs don’t and the hot tarmac can badly …

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Sr Mary Ann brings hope to Huaycan youth

Sr Mary Ann Neylon returned to her home in Peru this week after her recent visit to Clare. Before she left, she spoke to The Clare Champion about the fundraising efforts of her home parish of Inagh and the surrounding areas and her work combating family violence in Huaycan. For 25 years, Sr Mary Ann has lived and worked in Peru. Before that, she worked in the Phillipines for eight years, having joined the Columban order 50 years ago. For the past four years, she has been working on “the prevention of family violence with youth, to help build self-esteem and awareness skills with young people”. Sr Mary Ann explained, “We have a project working in two secondary schools and one in the community. This is a project with male and female youths and together they learn values, mutual respect and awareness.” Sr Mary Ann trained in social sciences and tries to upskill, particularly in the area of family and …

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Clare culture on TG4

TG4 music and magazine series, Féilte will visit Clare on its journey of discovery along the Wild Atlantic Way on this Thursday at 8.30pm. TG4’s Féilte programme continues its nine-week tour of the hidden treasures along the Western seaboard, following the Fáilte Ireland-promoted 2,500km Wild Atlantic Way.The tour began on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and ends in Kinsale, County Cork. The programme, which will be aired this Thursday, sees presenter, Síle Ní Bhraonáin come to the Banner County. The show will feature the finest traditional music, song and dance, local cuisine and adventure activities. Síle discovers some of the secret gems in the towns and villages along the route, as well as some spectacular scenery. Síle drops in to Friel’s, also known as Lynch’s pub, in the Willie Clancy festival town of Miltown Malbay, where entertainment is provided by renowned musicians, Edel Fox, Therese McInerney, Marian Curtin, Deirdre O’Brien and Cian Talty, who all come from local families …

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BUMBLEance, with kids in mind

A Sixmilebridge boy, who has a very rare life-limiting illness has travelled in the world’s first interactive children’s ambulance, to make long journeys to hospital more comfortable. Jordan Perez, who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type Two, was the first Clare child to use the BUMBLEance recently. SMA Type Two is part of a group of disorders that affect the control of muscle movements. Confined to a wheelchair, Jordan requires full-time care on a 24-hour basis. He was honoured as one of Ireland’s nine bravest children at a Share a Dream’s National Children of Courage Awards at their Dream Ball in Clontarf Castle, Dublin last year. BUMBLEance transports sick children from all over Ireland to their treatment centres and attempt to make like a little easier for the child and their parents. Jordan frequently makes the long and usually uncomfortable journey to Dublin for treatment. Jordan’s mum, Sinead, described the journey as “very comfortable and much less stressful, as …

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Honouring Clare dead of World War I

One hundred years ago today, July 28, 1914 the Austria-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia and precipitated a chain of events which saw most European nations in a state of war within a week. Over the course of the following five years war raged on fronts as close as England where some south eastern English towns and cities were bombed, to the Western Front straddling France, Holland and Belgium, the Alps, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Iraq and even naval battles off the coast of Chile. By wars end, there were 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history. It is beleived that as many as 7,000 Clare men enlisted in Allied forces during World War I and as many as 700 lost their lives. As the centenary of remembrance of WW1 begins, The Clare Peace Park Initiative unveiled plans this week for a planned permanent memorial to all those who took part and lost their lives …

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Sisters celebrate slimming success

A health scare prompted two North Clare sisters to shed 11 stone 11 pounds between them in just nine months. Ann O’Sullivan and Bernie Bennis, both from Ennistymon, joined Slimming World in Ennis last October after a trip to the doctor showed the toll Ann’s weight was having on her health. “Initially, I didn’t realise I had put on so much weight. I got a terrible shock when I stepped on the weighing scales on October 9. What happened was like everyone else, you get married, you are cooking, you are picking at food and my GP said it was time to do some bloods. We did the bloods and my cholesterol was just slightly over 5. That is how it happened. “I went back to get the results of my cholesterol and it had jumped to 6.4. So she gave me an ultimatum saying I had to either had to drop the weight or take the medication,” Ann recalled. …

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Clare Youth Society hosts wild musical

CLARE Youth Musical Society will go wild on the Glór stage this Thursday and Friday for their version of The Jungle Book. The society was established by dance teacher Laura-Jane Allis and Speech & Drama teacher Sarah Griffin. Sarah also directed Ennis Musical Society’s sell-out production of Annie earlier this year. Sarah said the group was established to fill a gap during the summer months. “Myself and Laura Jane set it up about three years ago and this is our third production. Because we both work with children and teenagers, we knew that for the summer there wasn’t much for them to do because all of the end of the year shows are in May and June and then July and August are free. We said we’d set up something just to kind of keep the interest going and get the musical element there for young people and, hopefully, they’d find as much passion as we do in it.” The …

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