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Tribute paid following death of Donemana community stalwart

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Tribute paid following death of Donemana community stalwart thumbnailThe late Brian Gallagher.

WARM tribute has been paid to a founding member of a community group in Donemana.

The late Brian Gallagher, of Cottage Brae, Dunnyboe Road, Donemana, was laid to rest on Saturday, March 18.

Aged 75 years, his life had been one of service to his neighbours and the wider community.

Mr Gallagher had worked as a nurse in Omagh until his retirement. He was unmarried and is survived by his nieces and nephews and by the surrounding community who he treated like family.

Paying tribute to Mr Gallagher, Leslie Craig from Dennett Interchange, said: "His life of service in a voluntary capacity marked him out as a man of rare talent, never self-serving but always of a giving and generous nature. He never drew attention to himself and was happiest ensuring that others were cared for.

"In his retirement he was instrumental in the formation of Dennett Interchange and was one of the founding directors of the group in Amity House, Donemana.

"In the formation of the Luncheon Club and Meals on Wheels service he was a driving force and always on hand to see that the work got done and each and every visitor was greeted and made welcome.

"Quietly spoken, he had a wise head on his shoulders and was somebody who could be spoken to in confidence when there were issues and problems to solve.

"When others had their say at public meetings, Brian was the man you could speak to so as to get wise counsel and size up any situation in a fair and impartial manner."

He continued: "Interested in all that surrounded him, he also had a keen eye for history, was well read and informed on his own family who had resided in the area for generations. At a local history exhibition he brought along letters and medals from his Uncles who had served in World War 1.

"Though he would have shied away from any public recognition, his contribution was marked by a presentation at Christmas 2004 in Strabane District Council offices.

"Always the diplomat he was at ease amongst those of influence and position. On a visit to the European Parliament in Brussels and at an evening reception where the group were hosted by The Northern Ireland Office he was a superb ambassador for all.

"Brian with the natural ability of a diplomat was able to speak amiably with knowledge and characteristic smile and sense of humour.

"In his conversations with senior officials of the Northern Ireland Office and elected Parliamentarians, he most admirably explained the work engaged in a local level in Donemana which was being funded from European support measures.

"A man of ability with a most professional expertise in 'getting on with people' he never forgot his deep rooted affection for his local area. A tall man, his stature was not just reflected in his height but more measurably in his contributions to society.

"If a man's measure in life is to be understood not in his acquisitions, not in what he owned and acquired in life, but in what he contributed to others, and give back in life, then Brian stands indeed a giant.

"A gentleman, where such gentlemen are now in short supply. As a neighbour said to me at his graveside: 'There wasn't an ill turn in him'.

"He acted always for all, never for himself. Never more so than at present, society is in need of more men like Brian. May he rest in peace."

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