Northern Ireland

NI weekly papers: Stem cells, terrapins and the miracle boy

The Impartial Reporter Image copyright The Impartial Reporter
Portadown Times Image copyright Portadown Times
Strabane Chronicle Image copyright Strabane Chronicle
Andersonston News Image copyright Andersonston News

A 25-year-old west Belfast woman who led a high-profile campaign to encourage people to become stem cell donors has died days after her wedding.

Eimear Gooderham's family launched the campaign after she was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in 2016, the Andersonstown News reports.

Mrs Gooderham married her fiancé Philip in hospital just three days before she passed away.

At one stage the couple shared a cheeseburger cut like a wedding cake.

"She was so at comfort with her family and friends around her," said her father Sean Smyth, adding that Eimear would want people to remember her by signing up to become a stem cell, organ or blood donor.

Elsewhere, the paper reports claims that a 3G sports pitch that opened last year at the Falls Park in west Belfast was only being used once a day.

The Love Falls Park campaign group, which objected to the original proposals for the pitch, said a Freedom of Information request to Belfast City Council revealed that the £1.7m facility had been used 371 times between June 2018 and May 2019.

A council spokesman said it had consulted extensively on its pitches' strategy, and invited responses to its consultation on the development of open spaces.

Image copyright McTeague family
Image caption Steven McTeague died three days after an incident at theTerex factory

The Impartial Reporter describes the heartache of a woman whose husband died in an incident at a factory in Omagh in 2016.

Terex GB Limited was fined £150,00 after it pleaded guilty to breaches in health and safety which resulted in the death of Steven McTeague.

His widow, Helen said the fine amounted to "a pittance" for losing her husband.

"That he died needlessly makes us incredibly angry," she added.

Unfilled consultant posts

The paper also reports on the difficulties experienced by the Western Health and Social Care Trust in filling vacancies for senior doctors.

The trust revealed that 28% of its 700 full-time consultant posts are currently unfilled.

It said it faced "particular challenges" recruiting staff due to its geographical location.

Some local pensioners are afraid to leave their own homes due to a surge in antisocial behaviour, according to the lead story in the Strabane Chronicle.

"I'd say this has been going on for a month, but this weekend was very bad," said resident Michael McColgan from the Melmount Villas area.

"The place was a complete mess. Young ones burned a bicycle, tyres and foodstuff," he added.

Image caption The Strabane Chronicle's hunt for a terrapin turned out to be a wild goose chase

Meanwhile, Chronicle journalist Michael Devlin informs readers of his wildlife-tracking exploits following up reports of a turtle spotted in the Strabane Canal.

"I wondered what it might be, the 'turtle' that is. 'Turtle' I knew was a misnomer, as turtles live in the sea and rarely appear in or around Strabane Canal. This was more likely to be a tortoise or even a large terrapin."

After a run-in with a cock pheasant and three Cocker Spaniels and three visits to the canal the intrepid reporter called off the chase.

"We might as well have been looking for the Lough Ness Monster," he concludes.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Bonfire stories are rarely far from the front pages of the local papers at this time of year.

The Portadown Times reports that the DUP has defended local deputy mayor Margaret Tinsley after she posed for photographs in front of a burning bonfire with the Irish tricolour on top.

Sinn Féin called for Cllr Tinsley, a DUP member who serves on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council to be disciplined by her party.

"Brilliant bonfire, well done to all the volunteers, always a great start to the July celebrations," the deputy mayor posted on Facebook along with a number of photographs of the event.

The DUP said the councillor had attended the bonfire "in her own capacity" and not as deputy mayor.

The Newtownards Chronicle reports on four-year-old "miracle boy" Cillian Rodgers who was seriously injured when he was involved in a crash with a motorcycle.

His mother, Courtney Rodgers, described arriving at the scene, jumping out of the car while it was still moving.

"I ran faster than Usain Bolt down the street," she said.

Cillian was kept in an induced coma for six days while he was treated for several bleeds to the brain and a fractured skull and femur.

Two months later and the youngster still has some way to go but he is well on the mend.

Image copyright Derry & Strabane District Council
Image caption 2018 saw a record turnout of spectators at the Foyle Maritime Festival

Derry and Strabane Council has welcomed news that the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will make a return visit to the Foyle Maritime Festival next year

The Derry Journal reports that arrangements for the "massively popular festival", which is held in Londonderry every two years, are already under way.

The chair of the council's Business & Culture Committee Shauna Cusack told the paper: "The world famous Clipper Race has millions of followers and fans globally and Derry has been privileged to have been part of its journey by securing the city as a destination in previous years."

The paper also reports that a film directed by Donegal man Brendan McCallion has won three prestigious Royal Television Society Student Awards.

"Backwater" features a storyline concerning a man who lives with Alzheimer's - a subject close to the filmmaker's heart as his late grandmother suffered from the disease.