Shortfall in funds for African doctor’s blue plaque in Derry

Pictured at a recent event to discuss the life of Dr Raphael Armattoe held in The Verbal Arts Centre are, from left, Eamonn Deane, Holywell Trust, Austin Obinna, IGBO, Kwa Daniels, Bounce Education, Patrick Devlin, Ulster History Circle, Kingsley Harrison Agoha, president, IGBO association, Co Donegal, Trevor Temple, City Walls Heritage Project and Pailippa Robinson, historian.

Pictured at a recent event to discuss the life of Dr Raphael Armattoe held in The Verbal Arts Centre are, from left, Eamonn Deane, Holywell Trust, Austin Obinna, IGBO, Kwa Daniels, Bounce Education, Patrick Devlin, Ulster History Circle, Kingsley Harrison Agoha, president, IGBO association, Co Donegal, Trevor Temple, City Walls Heritage Project and Pailippa Robinson, historian.

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The Ulster History Circle has issued an appeal for donations to make up a small short-fall in the cost of erecting a blue plaque for a West African doctor who lived in Derry in the 1940s.

The call was made at a recent event to discuss the life of Dr Raphael Armattoe.

Treasurer of the Ulster History Circle, Patrick Devlin, said a blue plaque in honour of Dr Armattoe would be erected later this year on the Northland Road building where he lived and worked.

“Although we have received a very generous donation to cover most of the cost, the initiative is still short about £300,” he said.

One of the main speakers at the event was Philippa Robinson who has carried out extensive research into the life of a man she has described as a medical doctor, a poet, an essayist and a anthropologist.

She remarked: “I am glad that Dr Armattoe is getting the recognition that he richly deserves and that this recognition helps mark our appreciation of the diversity that is in our community.”

The evening of short lectures, poetry readings and music was organised by the Holywell Trust’s City Walls Heritage Project.

The Trust’s Trevor Temple gave a short talk setting Dr Armattoe’s experience in the context of the historic contribution of other of immigrant communities to Derry.

One of the people who read extracts from Dr Armattoe’s writings and poetry was Kingsley Harrison Agoha, co-president of the Igbo Association of County Donegal.

He explained the significance of having a blue plaque erected in Derry to a West African: “Dr Raphael Armattoe lived in Derry and left a lasting legacy for mankind, especially the Africans and other emigrants alike.

“We, the new generations who migrated from Africa, can proudly and safely settle here and be part of this wonderful city of diverse cultural heritage.”

Anyone wishing to help meet the shortfall on the blue plaque can contact Carol Wright at the Holywell Trust on Tel: 028 71261941.