Gerry Clancy says he’d be lost without his neighbours in Stephen’s Court in Ballymagroarty.
Gerry, 71, lives alone with his dog, ‘Buster’ but since becoming ill several months ago, his daughter moved back in to the family home to look after her father.
Gerry has lived in Ballymagroarty for over 25 years and is part of the Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank Community Partnership (BHCP) Family Album project.
The initiative saw people like Gerry and residents from both areas compile 60 short clips about living in the local community.
All of the clips were then edited, put together and last month the final cut was presented at the Brunswick Moviebowl in the Pennyburn Industrial Estate.
“My clip was the first to be shown,” said Gerry proudly.
“My daughter came along to the screening with me and she joked that the camera had obviously made me look like I had out on a few pounds,” joked Gerry.
It was the first time Gerry had ever taken part in such a project but one, he said, he found extremely rewarding.
“It was strange seeing myself on the big screen but for a man of my age taking part in this project was great fun.
“I didn’t really know what to say when the camera started rolling so I just decided to talk about how much I love and my late wife loved, living in Ballymagroarty.
“My wife, Ann, died eight years ago and she loved living in Ballymagroarty.
“I am originally from Dublin and my wife was from Derry so I had to do what I was told so I moved to Derry almost 40 years ago.
“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else because the help and support I got, not only during the time when Ann was sick, but all of the time is second to none.”
Gerry and his late wife, Ann, raised six children in Ballymagroarty and he insisted it still is an “amazing” place to live.
“There’s a great wee atmosphere where I live and we all look out for one another.
“When local community worker, Billy Page, asked me if I would like to take part in the project I jumped at the chance and to be honest with you, I am so glad I didn’t back out because it’s something that I am very proud of,” he said.
Seventy-one year-old Christy O’Donnell and his wife Monica, were one of the first families to move into newly built houses in Marianus Park 25 years ago.
The only real difference between Christy and Gerry is that one man lives in Hazelbank and the other lives in Ballymagroarty.
“I’ve been involved with community work in the Hazelbank area for years,” said Christy.
“I was once the chairperson for the COSY (Citizens Of Senior Years) Club and I’ve also done a lot of volunteering with the disabled people in our community.
“My daughter Sarah is disabled and still lives at home with my wife, Monica so I saw taking part in the video as a great way to raise awareness about disability.”
Christy is without question a confident man but he said even he found performing in front of the camera a little daunting.
“I’ll do just about anything if it means promoting the local community but I was a wee bit nervous doing my 30 second clip but I overcame my stage fright and sure by the end of it all it looked great.”
BHCP Neighbourhood Renewal Officer, Geraldine Emsley, described the project as one which the community was extremely proud of and revealed that there were plans to show the short film again in the future.
“The screening provided an opportunity for people from Hazelbank and Ballymagroarty to come together, have fun and celebrate their own lives and creativity.
“Seeing themselves on the big screen had a huge impact.
“We hope to show the DVD again locally and copies will be available through BHCP within the next few weeks. “We also aim to put it up on our Facebook page at Ballymagroarty Hazelbank Community Partnership.”