The real April 29th gig

Sean McGonigle and Michelle McLaren strut their stuff.  (0305JB70)
Sean McGonigle and Michelle McLaren strut their stuff. (0305JB70)


What we can we say about that special and wonderful event on Friday 29th April, that hasn’t already been said or appeared on Facebook or twittered?

We were all glued to the screens. It was as we expected, a delicious mixture of pomp and ceremony, and of course populism. We were overawed by the sense that something extraordinary was happening.

It wasn’t just the lavish decor of the setting or the style of the good and the great as they moved in to take their seats. There was no doubt that a significant number of the population, all generations, wanted to experience the magic for themselves. One can only marvel at the organisation. How do you even begin to put an event of such magnificence together?

Hats off to the workers. It was lavish, it was spectacular, and the feel-good factor that swept through the guests as the Pink Ladies emerged radiant in pink and black satin and took their places on the floor of the Marquee in the grounds of the Gasyard, for the Strictly Come Dancing event of the year, in aid of breast cancer sufferers.

They were an inspiration but the best was yet to come. Fifteen couples, resplendent in costumes designed by top designers in the haute couture circles of Derry’s fashion world, competed for the coveted award of Strictly Cha Cha and Jive awards of 2011.

The judges drawn from the world of media, entertainment and political circles had a difficult time selecting a winner from the array of talent, which included dancers from ecclesiastical, political, legal, business and community circles.

In any event, the happy couples who danced their way to fame were Paul McGilloway and Paula Devine and Sean McMonagle and Michelle McLaren. The ‘official’ photgrapher for the occasion summed up the atmosphere - “They had their own buzz, everyone had their own buzz. Of course there were other things happening in London but this was the gig of the century.”


Mary Nelis