Huge success for Pilot’s Row ‘Write Away Derry’ project

WRITE AWAY DERRY. . . . . The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion pictured at Eden Place Arts Centre on Friday afternoon for the "Write Away Derry Project''. The event, facilitated by writer and poet KevinKiely saw the group over the last number of months write history based on their lifetime of experience. The group, seated from left are, Pauline Ferry, Christine Carlin, Jean Doherty, Kevin Kiely, Facilitator, Brian McMenamin, Thomas Cassidy, Fr. Jim Hamilton, Harry McGlinchey and Frances Shiels. DER0616MC003
WRITE AWAY DERRY. . . . . The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Elisha McCallion pictured at Eden Place Arts Centre on Friday afternoon for the "Write Away Derry Project''. The event, facilitated by writer and poet KevinKiely saw the group over the last number of months write history based on their lifetime of experience. The group, seated from left are, Pauline Ferry, Christine Carlin, Jean Doherty, Kevin Kiely, Facilitator, Brian McMenamin, Thomas Cassidy, Fr. Jim Hamilton, Harry McGlinchey and Frances Shiels. DER0616MC003

Eight local people showcased their life stories at the Eden Place Art Centre on Friday.

Over the last few months, participants have penned their ‘True Life’ stories in the form of memoirs and autobiographies.

Led by writer and poet Kevin Kiely, the group wrote about their personal experiences of living in Derry.

Pauline Ferry signed up after she heard about it during an art class.

“They asked me if I would be interested and I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to share some of my memories,” she said.

“I’ve lived in Derry all my life and I’ve gone through a lot in that time.

“I’ve always wanted to write a story about my experiences so it was perfect for me.”

Pauline appropriately titled her story ‘Stuck in the Middle’.

“I was born at midnight between June 30th and July 1st. My birth certificate reads June 30th but my Baptismal Certificate recorded it as July 1st,” she noted.

“As well as that, I’m the middle child in my family so I always knew when I got round to writing my story it would have to be that title.”

Pauline shared the story of her father who was one of the first on the scene when aviator, Amelia Earhart, crash landed in Derry.

“He was playing in the garden with his sister one day and suddenly heard the sound of an aeroplane.

“He ran all the way to Cornshell Fields and saw Amelia Earhart just as she landed on the ground.

“The next day he turned up in his suit for photographs. He said Amelia was really kind and interested in the children there.”

Pauline has fond memories of her own childhood, growing up in Malborough Avenue.

“We spent all our days playing street games and skipping.

“We used to hide in the evening because we didn’t want to be called into the house,” she recalled.

After attending school at St Mary’s, Pauline followed a career in health care.

“I worked in Woolworths before getting into nursing.

“I was actually working in Altnagelvin Hospital during the Claudy bombing in 1972 and I have memories from that which I’ll never forget.

“I left it after seven months but I stayed in health care for 19 more years.”

Another big feature of Pauline’s story is her MS diagnosis.

“I was blessed to have three children.

“In 1987, just after my third was born I was told I had MS.

“Nowadays, I spend a lot of time in the Foyle Disability Resource Centre doing yoga and physiotherapy which is great.

“I also have two little grandkids so I’m kept busy,” she smiled.

PRAISED “WRITE AWAY

DERRY PROJECT”

Pauline praised the ‘Write Away Derry’ project and said she would love to see more people join.

“It’s nice to be able to write about the history of Derry and growing up in Northern Ireland without feeling compelled to talk about the Troubles.

“Everyone’s stories are so different and unique.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of a group with such great writers as well. I’ve learned so much from taking part.”

Anyone interested in joining the project can contact Judi at the Eden Place Arts Centre on 02871269418 or e-mail judi_edenplaceartscentre@yahoo.co.uk