At the December Meeting of the Bellaghy Historical Society members were treated to an extremely enjoyable programme of narrative, song and verse recalling the “World of Percy French”. Mr. Bill Moorhead, Mr. Wilfred and Mrs. Isobel Crowe and Mr. Norman Cairns who performed the items are members of the Percy French Society which will shortly celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of its foundation. Their enthusiasm, skill and obvious enjoyment in performing the works of this most talented Irishman gave added pleasure to the audience. The famous and well known songs such as “Phil the Fluter’s Ball”, “Slattery’s Mounted Foot”, “Are you right there Michael?”, “McBreen’s Heifer” were some of those sung most tunefully by the men while Mrs Crowe had her audience alternatively laughing and weeping with her talented rendition of “Queen Victoria’s Advice to her Lord Lieutenant”, “Ach, I Dunno”, “If I were a Lady” and other poems. Mr. Norman Cairns played the banjo (Percy French’s favourite instrument) with great skill and the entire programme was interspersed with a narration of Percy French’s life as a Civil Engineer in Ireland and the later periods he spent performing in London, America and Ireland. The narrators recalled also his personal life, the tragedy of his young wife’s death in childbirth, his subsequent re-marriage and his lifelong interest in painting, one of his works having sold last year for 30,000 euro. The evening was one of great enjoyment and gave members a marvellous insight into life in the nineteeth and early twentieth century. Mrs Mary Breslin, Chairperson, thanked the artists, who had come a long way, for a memorable evening’s entertainment. She also reminded members that the January meeting on 8th would be addressed by Mrs Beryl Knox who would recount the History of Springhill, the National Trust property at Moneymore.
At the December meeting Bellaghy Historical Society were entertained with a selection of Percy French’s songs and poems by Percy French Society members Norman Cairns Bill Moorehead Isabelle and Wilfie Crowe