How would you like to meet fond old friends and have a jive, a tipple and a catch-up all at once?
Well, the famed shirt factory workers of Derry are invited to come together for a special night of reminiscing and nostalgia at a Factory Girls’ Charity Dance on Friday, September 6, at the City Hotel.
Former workers of The City, Welsh Margeson’s, Tillie’s, Wilkinson’s, Rosemount, Scott’s, The Star and Hogg and Mitchell’s factories, to name but a few, will swap memories as they enjoy a night of dancing to 50s, 60s and 70s music performed by the fantastic Foyle Big Band.
No doubt their antics on the factory floor and, indeed, in the ballrooms of the Corinthian, Borderland, The Embassy, The Memorial Hall and The Stardust, will be relived as they dance the night away to popular music of that era.
Much has been written and spoken over the years about the importance of Derry’s shirt factory workers, but some facts remain undisputed, such as the importance of their contribution to their family income - when male employment was at an all-time low in the city - and their invaluable contribution to the economic and social life of this city.
In fact, at the height of the shirt factory industry, no less than 44 factories were in full production in Derry, employing over 8,000 workers and exporting Derry-made shirts around the globe.
Isabel Doherty, Clare Moore and Mary Clifford are three well-known former factory workers who met during their time in the factories and who remain friends to this day.
All three have been working hard behind the scenes to make this a night to remember!
All musical tastes will be catered for, and a DJ will play all sorts of classic favourites spanning the 1940s and 1950s before the Foyle Big Band bring their magic to the stage.
Sing along to songs like ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, The Tennessee Waltz’, She Wears Red Feathers’, and then reminisce about the days when you donned your can-can dresses and your Pagan perfume and have a good old jive to the rock & roll sounds of the 1950s with Buddy Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue’, or Bill Hailey’s ‘Rock Around the Clock. Or indeed, you can just sit back and relax with a drink in your hand to the sounds of Johnny Ray belting out ‘Just Walking in the Rain’.
If you are feeling energetic, you might perhaps enjoy a waltz around the floor to Doris Day, singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ or Ruby Murray singing the melodic ‘Softly Softly’ or have a slow dance to Pat Boone singing ‘I’ll be Home’.
Then sit back and relax and wait for the Foyle Big Band, fronted by the ever-popular Mickey Wilson, to take to the stage and make you dance the night away to the sounds of showbands and and the music of the 1960s.
In this special City of Culture year, the Factory Girls’ Charity Night will no doubt be a special night when the pride of Derry, its factory girls, come together to remember days gone by and revel in each others company once again.
Tickets, which will be limited, can be obtained from The City Hotel, The Newsagents in William Street, Isabel Doherty or Clare Moore.
All proceeds will go to a local charity.