Two Derry ex-pats are being brought home from Australia to help celebrate the city’s Culture year.
Petrina Cassidy and Rosaleen McLaughlin will both be coming home this year to see their families and attend a City of Culture event of their choice after winning the City of Culture and Etihad Airways ‘Bring A Loved One Home for the UK City of Culture’ competition.
Petrina’s sister, Carleen Cassidy said they were overwhelmed with the amount of support Petrina had received during the competition.
“What an amazing competition. To have the opportunity to have my sister home and for her to experience Derry, her beloved home town, as the City of Culture in 2013 will be really special,” she said. “We have really worked so hard to maintain Petrina’s lead throughout the competition by contacting everyone we know.”
“We are overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received not only at home in Derry, but literally all over the world. I can’t wait to see my baby sister so we can re-celebrate her 30 birthday and Petrina will be able to meet her little niece or nephew who will be arriving this year.”
“This competition has brought our family, friends and long lost neighbours together. Thank you to Etihad Airways and to City of Culture for bringing Petrina home.”
Meghan Coyle, Rosaleen’s niece, said the whole family was buzzing with the news that she would be coming home during 2013. “Thank you to all our family and friends in Derry, Ireland, England, Scotland, USA, Canada and Australia and god knows where else who have made this dream come true for Rosaleen.
“Rosaleen works as a nurse and she was asleep after finishing her night duty when I rang to tell her. She couldn’t believe it and it took a minute for the news to sink in.”
“A special thanks to the people at Etihad Airways and City of Culture who have recognised all our hard work and have very graciously given us this prize for coming second in their fantastic competition.”
Both Petrina and Rosaleen will be flown by Etihad Airways to Dublin and then on home to Derry by City of Culture’s public transport partner, Translink.
More than 20,000 votes were cast by people wanting to bring their nearest and dearest back home during the City of Culture year.
As the race to first place was so close between the front-runners, it was decided to fly back both Petrina from Melbourne and Rosaleen from the Gold Coast in Queensland.
Both families mounted persuasive campaigns on the City of Culture Facebook site to convince followers to vote to bring them both home.