Donall Henderson

Donall Henderson.
Donall Henderson.

This week’s Friday’s Child is Dónall Henderson, chief executive officer of the Foyle Hospice.

Buncrana born Dónall was previously Director of Operations with North London YMCA and has almost twenty years’ experience in the voluntary sector, primarily focused on housing and the health service.

Donall Henderson.

Donall Henderson.

He took up his new post last October and as the Hospice looks forward to celebrating its 30th anniversary this year says he is privileged to be part of its continuing development.

How would you describe yourself?

Committed, enthusiastic and determined. As I was born on a Friday and therefore an authentic Friday’s Child I would like to think that I am loving and giving also.

Happiest childhood memory

Spending summer days at the White Strand with my cousins, eating ham sandwiches (with sand for added flavour) and drinking Club Orange. We didn’t have a care in the world. I also loved Hallowe’en parties at my Aunty Cissie’s house and the excitment of Christmas Eve.

What was your first job?

Helping out after school and at weekends in my father’s DIY shop in Buncrana. I loved mixing the paints, key cutting and dressing the window, especially at Christmas.

Favourite book

‘Warhorse’ by Michael Morpurgo. I know its generally aimed at a younger readership, but it is a truly lovely story.

Favourite filmMy father has managed the local cinema for almost thirty years and I was a huge fan of movies when I was growing up. It’s really difficult for me to pick just one, but if I had to it would be “The Devil Wears Prada”. In fact, most movies featuring Meryl Streep as I think she is an amazingly talented and extremely versatile actress.

Favourite television programme

I was glued to both seasons of The Fall and also enjoyed the supernatural series ‘Marchlands’. I wouldn’t miss ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Fashion Police’ and I’ve also just started to watch ‘Sherlock’ and am very impressed.

Favourite expression

“Good manners is easily carried”

Favourite holiday destination

Nice (or anywhere along the French Riviera) and San Francisco. I’m off to Milan and Portofino in Italy this summer and this may change my choices.

Favourite method of relaxation

A nice easy paced swim in the pool or taking the dog for a nice long walk in the evening.

Who would you most like to meet?

Malala Yousafzai. This is one extremely courageous and inspirational young woman. I’ve also recently attended a screening about the life and work of Inez McCormack. I had heard so much about her and how well she was respected for her tireless efforts in campaigning for social justice.

What makes you angry?Inequality, intolerance, arrogance, patronising and rude people.

What makes you happy?

Heidi, my five year old Miniature Schnauzer. She makes me happy even at the toughest times. Oh and chocolate!

What is the human quality you least admire?


What is the human quality you most admire?


What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?

I once saw a girl in Belfast I used to share a house with and chased her half way up Royal Avenue. When I eventually caught up with her and hugged her in the middle of the street I soon realised it wasn’t her at all!

What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?

The death of my Granny Eileen McDaid on 7th May 2009.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing my memory

What has been the high point of your life to date?

Obviously being appointed as Chief Executive of Foyle Hospice. Of course, returning home was a bonus.

What is your most treasured possession?

It would have to be a jumper my granny knitted for me when I was about eight years old. It’s a snow scene in the alps and she had to ask the local wool shop to get some of the wool from England. She put her heart and sould into it and having it makes me always feel close to her.

If you won the lotto what would you do with it?

I’ve always wanted to live by the sea, so would probably invest in a nice little seaside cottage, follwong a round the world trip. Charity donations would be important with theFoyle Hospice high on the list, as well as medical research and animal charities.I defintely would not give up my work as I don’t think all that money would make me happy.

If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for? A cure for all life limiting illnesses.

If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?

Lived it, loved it and made it’ my own.