Former Editor Donates Funds To Local Charities In Newcastle


Former Mourne Observer editor Terence Bowman presents cheques to Canon Ian Ellis of St John’s Parish Church, Newcastle, and to Paul Madden and Jacqui Mason from the Donard Fundraising Group. Paul is holding copies of ‘Read All About It!’ – the source of Terence’s charitable donations which totalled £2,000.

Little did former Mourne Observer editor Terence Bowman realise when he penned a memoir of his 35 years with the paper that he wouls take on – and beat – legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson when it came to racking up the sales!  That’s not to say Sir Alex will be particularly concerned, given that to date his own post-retirement autobiography has sole almost a million copies around the UK alone.  However, it was the battle for readers in Newcastle and district in the months after both books were launched last October that saw the fiery Scotsman finishing as runner-up in the author stakes.

[caption id="attachment_48579" align="alignright" width="390"]Canon ian Ellis, Rector of St John's Churc. Jacqui Mason and Paul Gribben of Donard Fundraising Group are pictured with Terry Bowman,  MO's former editor. Canon Ian Ellis, Rector of St John’s Church. Jacqui Mason and Paul Gribben of Donard Fundraising Group are pictured with Terry Bowman, MO’s former editor (second right).[/caption]

Smyth’s Musicque and Books on Railway Street was a key point of sale for the two publications, with demand for Terence’s Read All About It! in that store alone falling not far of three figures – well exceeding those notched up by Sir Alex and every other author with books on the store’s shelves.  Further very welcome sales were achieved at other outlets in Castlewellan (Walkers), Dundrum (Trohear), Annalong (Holmes and Centra Barbican), Kilkeel (Holmes) and Newcastle (Nearbuy and Barbican Supervalu, as well as at the Mourne Observer office, only adding salt to the proverbial wound!

However, the real winners from this remarkable publishing achievement have been St John’s Parish Church in Newcastle, the local Donard Fundraising Group, in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Canon Ian Ellis, Rector of St John’s, along with Donard Fundraising Group Chairman Paul Madden and PRO Jacqui Mason, went along to the Burrendale Hotel last Thursday evening to receive donations totalling £2,000, representing the entire proceeds from sales to date of Read All About It!

It was Terence’s wish from the outset that all monies realised through the sale of books and, in a number of instances, through anonymous donations, would go to the two good causes.  Additionally, he met the publishing costs out of his own pocket.  As he explained in the book’s foreword, his collection of Mourne Observer memories had its genesis in an invitation extended towards the end of 2012 by Canon Ellis to a diverse group of journalists living in the town.  He had hoped they might consider contributing a chapter each to a proposed Newcastle journal, which would serve as a simple fundraiser for St John’s.

Owing to other work commitments among the group the project had to be placed temporarily on hold; in the meantime, however, Terence had gone ahead and written a sample article recalling the first six weeks of his career at the Mourne Observer, which had commenced during  the very memorable summer of 1976.  “I’d never intended to reminisce in print about my 35 years with the paper, but so encouraging was the response from Canon Ellis and a few former colleagues who has read the story, that i spent the next month delving into the furthest reaches of my memory,” he stated.  It would not have happened without that initial approach from Canon Ellis and it was for that reason he decided to honour the original idea that the book should be a fundraiser for St John’s.

In addition a quarter of all money raised is going to the Donard Fundraising Group, to be used especially for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the provision of vital palliative nursing care for anyone in our local area who needs this dignified end of life care.  The Donard Fundraising Group Chairman Paul Madden said, “Terence’s incredible kindness towards our Group and extremely generous donation of £500, will fund an additional 25 hours of essential Marie Curie nursing care for our area to help anyone who has cancer or a terminal illness.”

Terence said: “My late mother Jean passed away at the Marie Curie Hospice (Beaconsfield) in May 1991, and the wonderfully caring staff there have the eternal gratitude of my family circle,”  He repeated his earlier thanks to former colleagues Stephen and Alice Bleue, Niki Hill, Nicky McKenna and Sean McConkey, as well as David and Carole Hawthorne, for their help and support in compiling the book, which is still available to purchase at most of the above named outlets.  

Canon Ellis and Paul Madden both expressed their sincere thanks for the generous donations, the latter reflecting on the tangible benefits it would bring through the good work of Marie Curie Cancer Care’. Paul (a lifelong Liverpool supporter) said he and the Donard Fundraising Group’s volunteers were all delighted that Terence had been able to score one over the indomitable Alex Ferguson in the battle for local book sales.  The evening was made all the more memorable as it was also Terence’s birthday – an occasion the Donard Fundraising Group could not allow to pass without presenting him with a surprise birthday cake. It was, Jacqui said, “a token of our Group’s deep appreciation for all of Terence’s kindness and support”.

 The Donard Fundraising Group can be contacted by Tel/Text: 07974 392790 or 07955 809280, or via Facebook/donard fundraisinggroup.