Our Davy bids farewell to Town Hall

Prime Minister David Cameron meeting Davy Boyle M. B.E., The Caring Caretaker at Coleraine Town Hall.  Photo M  T Hurson/Harrisons
Prime Minister David Cameron meeting Davy Boyle M. B.E., The Caring Caretaker at Coleraine Town Hall. Photo M T Hurson/Harrisons

One of Coleraine’s best known faces has retired after twenty years as caretaker of Coleraine Town Hall.

David Boyle, also known as the ‘Caring Caretaker’ because of his charity work, is taking early retirement due to ill health.

In a special interview with The Times this week, Davy looks back on his time in the prominent town centre building, and tells us that he will miss the friendly faces he met in his role.

Davy took up the post as Caretaker in August 1995, he had previously been in the Ulster Defence Regiment.

At that time the Town Hall was still undergoing refurbishment following the bomb that desecrated much of Coleraine’s town centre.

“I still remember my first day like it was yesterday, “ recalled Davy.

“The workmen were still on site, and there was a lot of work still to be completed inside the Town Hall.”

In November, the newly refurbished Town Hall was officially opened by Sir Patrick Mayhew, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at the time.

“After that I did my first panto, “ joked Davy.

“In January 1996, the cast of the Provincial Players moved in and I enjoyed the fun and games with them for many years.

“Down through the years many events became part of the diary - the Irish Dancing festivals, Coleraine Music Festival and the Milk Cup. In that time I have made many friends and seen many young faces prosper - Jayne Wisener was a regular at the Music Festival and I remember some of the Innova girls from the dancing festivals.”

As caretaker, Davy entertained many well-known visitors.

He says that Amanda Burton and the ‘Silent Witness’ crew that filmed in Coleraine back in 2004, was one of the highlights for him.

“It was just amazing to see things from the other side.

“The make up crew, the cameras all the little tricks that we don’t see as viewers.

2012 was also a special year for Davy.

He met Prime Minister David Cameron, who made a special trip to Coleraine as part of the London Olympics.

“He spoke to me personally asking about my medals and my charity work,” explained Davy.

“I was chuffed to bits.

“He then sent me a lovely letter thanking me for my hospitality, it’s so nice to be recognised by someone of his standing.

“That was a special year for me, not only did we have the Prime Minister in the Town Hall, but we also had our Olympians - Alan Campbell and the Chambers brothers, for a special event after the Olympics.

“That was a great day for the whole of Coleraine, we were all so proud.”

Davy, who is an avid Liverpool supporter, always jokes that the day Liverpool win the Premier League he will climb onto the roof of the Town Hall! He got very close to completing his bet this year...there’s always hope for next year Davy (fingers crossed)!

“I am very sad to be leaving,” said an emotional Davy.

“I have been getting up to go to work every morning since I was 14-and-a-half. It is very strange to get up in the morning and have no work to go to.

“I will be spending my retirement with my wife, Teresa, my family and my three children and my four grandsons. I will be eating plenty of buns and drinking plenty of coffee in Coleraine,” he joked.