This week’s Friday’s Child is the well-known and well-travelled former sports editor of the Derry News Neil Murray. Neil is married to Nell, they had six children, four daughters and two sons but lost Sarah to asthma in 2003. They have 15 grandchildren and eight of those have ginger hair just like their granny Nell. Neil is retired now and has written a manuscript called ‘Life’s Glorious Journey’ which he hopes to get published very soon.
How would you describe yourself?
Been there, done it and most certainly wore the t-shirt.
Happiest childhood memory?
Playing in the Donkey Field with my friends, catching tiddlers in the Doctor’s Dam and going to Grianan Fort.
What was your first job?
As a message-boy for Mitchell’s Chemist in William Street. That lasted just four weeks and then I got a job in the B.S.R. (Monarch Electric).
The Merchant of Venice
The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas and the Quiet Man Starring John Wayne and Irish Actress Maureen O’Hara.
Favourite television programme?
Doctor Kildare starring Richard Chamberlain.
Don’t tell anybody anything they don’t have to know and if you go down the same road you’ll end up in the same place.
Favourite method of relaxation?
A wee gamble at the Blackthorn Casino and a wee quiet drink with my wife.
Favourite holiday destinations?
Clifden in County Galway. It’s a lovely place and the traditional song and music by young locals is quite captivating. Majorca, Alicante and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria - fantastic!
Who would you most like to meet?
Any of the top actors in Hollywood.
What makes you happy?
People or individuals who help others who are not as fortunate as themselves. The peacemakers of this world and God knows we need them right now. Seeing our enlarged family circle and jobs coming to Derry.
What has been the most embarrassing thing to happen to you?
In 1973 I was going to play a football match in Prehen and picked up my football boots which were in a plastic bag. I got the bus to the town-centre for I lived in Carnhill at the time. The British army stopped the bus at a checkpoint and came on to search it. One of the soldiers asked me to open my plastic bag so he could check it out and low and behold there was nothing there except a whole pile of bean cans, potato and onion skins and God knows what else! The soldier looked at one of his colleagues and indicated to him that i was some sort of nutter. I was so embarrassed. In the end I had to borrow a pair of boots from one of my fellow team-mates.
What was the worst thing to happen to you in your life?
The untimely death of my daughter Sarah. She was only 24 years of age.
What has been the high point of your life to date?
Getting the job of sports journalist in the Derry News in 2001 and a few months later becoming the sports editor.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a person who made it against all the odds.
If you won the lotto what would you do with it?
I would see my family okay and spend the remainder. Money is for spending not hoarding. Not much fun in hoarding it.
If you could be granted one wish in life, what would you ask for?
Happiness for my family and friends and that the wars around the world would cease.
If you could write your own epitaph what would it be?
This man lived his life to the full now go and live yours to the same extent.