There are many First Ladies here in our village but I’m sure no one will disagree with my titling this particular lady with such. The lady who has served our young folk in football. The lady who put ‘cool’ in football for us gals, and many boys too. The lady who is larger than life with her personality…..her cheery persona, her smile, her laugh, and more. When this lady walks into the room, it suddenly brightens up. And if you’ve written about her, it gets a bit smaller (in my case, many times!!)mags-and-vincie-2
So how do I know this lady? Hmm, where do I start? I recall first seeing her as I dropped my eldest son to school, some 20+ years ago. Her youngest daughter was in the same class. She had three elder daughters who were also in school, so as she was more experienced at this school malarkey than I, I didn’t really engage with chit chat. I was still an amateur at school drop offs!!
But as the kiddo settled in school, football was soon part of my weekly life. This lady’s husband was coach of the little folk and soon I realised that I had gone to school with his sisters, and knew the family. And so I soon got to know the Lady herself. As my kiddo grew up, her husband became his idol. The boy used to tug at the mans top asking when he would get playing. I kept apologising for the child, but himself always gave time to the boy and his tugging was never a nuisance. I still recall those days vividly. It was around this time that I realised herself was ‘his’ wife. And she was also heavily involved with the local club, QPS. Having the eldest boy join this club and the two younger soon after, was very special to me. My Dad brought me and my siblings to watch QPS on a weekly basis as we grew up. qps
And so the lady was soon a feature in my life through football. But then as time went on I got to know her daughters in adulthood. Her eldest has caused me such pain, one will never know. Pain from the top of my head to the very tips of my toes, and every other part of my body in between. She has been cruel. But all in the best possible way. As she told me many times, it’s all ‘good pain’. Fit Camp has featured in my life now (part-time of course, and now semi-retired) for many years, and during this experience I got to know our First Lady in a different light. It started with Aerobics in Quigleys Point quite a few years ago. I went along and felt a little out of place. But thanks to this First Lady I was never out of place. She took me and others under her wing. Then as Fit Camp grew and progressed to Muff, she once again inspired us in every move, outdoors and in. Hell, if she could do this at 6am before a long day’s work ahead, I and the others could do so too.
I honestly don’t think she knew what an inspiration she was to myself, Mamma T and many others on those cold, sometimes frosty, mornings. We complained, moaned and more, and she just laughed and got on with it. And so we did such too….eventually!
When it got too much for me, the lady herself promised me wine to keep me going. So I got going stronger than ever!!!! mags-family
Anyone you might talk to and mention herself, will always smile and immediately tell a story about herself. And it’s always one in a good, positive light.
I recall when my boys were little and her own children still young, she returned to study at college. I remember thinking how awesome that was. It wasn’t until many years later I did the same myself. She may just have had a little influence on my decision to do likewise.
Derry City Council has definitely lost one of it’s most valued members of staff today. One who has served them well for many years. One who has definitely left her mark in the workplace. And one who will be sorely missed I don’t doubt by all her co-workers.
This lady has given her all to her career. To her job. To her vocation. But through all this, she never faltered in her number one position, that of Mother. Raising four daughters is never easy (or so I’m told!! I wouldn’t know!! Thank God!), and she did it with passion, dedication and real maternal love. (You owe me a wine at this stage Mags!!) Anyone who knows her girls will know the love they have for their mother. It’s one that never wavers. Each one of them count her as their most inspirational female in life. They continually praise and show huge respect for her at every turn. And in recent years, her role as Grandmother is on a par and more, with the role of mother.
Now it’s not only this lady who took her leave from her career today…Steven Gerrard also did so. Clearly he wanted to share his day with our special gal. retirement
So as Mrs Margaret (aka Margie, aka Mags) takes leave of her working life today, it is with great pride that I, alongside the villagers here in Muff, wish her every happiness and good fortune for many many years to come. It’s an absolute honour to know you, young lady, and enjoy all that life has in store for you from this day forth. To Mags 🙂