Huge sum raised for good causes from ‘fitting tribute’ to Oliver

Paul McBride, rugby captain, presenting a �6,923.00 cheque to Cancer Research UK's Mark McMahon and Richard Beggs presenting a �6,923.00 cheque to Dr. David Carutthers.
Paul McBride, rugby captain, presenting a �6,923.00 cheque to Cancer Research UK's Mark McMahon and Richard Beggs presenting a �6,923.00 cheque to Dr. David Carutthers.

Almost £14,000 was raised for two good causes at the Oliver Turkington Memorial Dinner which took place at Coleraine Inst last month.

The event - addressed by legendary British and Irish Lions captain Willie John McBride and compered by local comedy duo Grimes and McKee - was organised to celebrate the life of Oliver Turkington, a former boarder and the standout player of CAI’s rugby tour of Japan 25 years ago.

Mark McMahon, Senior Local Fundraising Manager for Cancer Research UK in Northern Ireland, visited the school today (Wednesday) to receive a cheque for £6,923 from Paul McBride, Coleraine Inst’s captain in the Far East in 1989.

Richard Beggs, the current CAI 1st XV Head Coach – who started at outside-half in all four games of the Japan tour – presented a cheque for an identical amount to Dr David Carruthers, the Headmaster, to assist with rugby development at the school.

Mark McMahon said: “Cancer Research UK in Northern Ireland would like to thank Barry White and all who attended this gala event to celebrate the life of Oliver Turkington.

“Congratulations to all involved in organising such a memorable, celebratory event. This is an incredible amount of money and will all go towards our life-saving research.”

Dr David Carruthers said: “A remarkable amount of money was also raised on the night, half of which will go towards rugby development at the school. This will serve as a great legacy and a fitting tribute to Oliver, who continues to be remembered particularly fondly by all who knew him.”

Barry White, who organised the event in partnership with Richard Beggs, was delighted with the funds that were raised.

“I cannot praise the school enough for their support,” he told Times Sport.

“Firstly, huge personal thanks to Richard who took on the challenge with all the grit and determination he used to show on the rugby field, and now displays on the touchline every Saturday morning.

“Second, to Diane Armstrong and Nicola Hanna in the school office, true unsung heroines of the piece. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them.

And finally, to the Headmaster, the Board of Governors and the Bursar, Gordon Knight, for allowing the school to serve as the appropriate backdrop for an evening none of us present will ever forget.

“On behalf of all involved, warmest thanks also to Willie John McBride, Alan McKee, Conor Grimes, our sponsors Tughans and Doran Consulting, and everyone who so willingly donated auction and raffle prizes. We will be forever in their debt.”