United legends show class at Bellsbridge

United legends show class at Bellsbridge

7 August 2019

BELLSBRIDGE, Dromara, was turned into a Theatre of Dreams on Saturday when the Manchester United Legends team paid a visit.

Former United stars, led by Northern Ireland’s own Sammy McIlroy and Keith Gillespie, and their band of brothers took on a Dromara Village Select to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI and the Anthony Nolan Trust in memory of the club’s own Walter McVeigh.

Walter died suddenly 20 years ago, one day after being diagnosed with Acute Mycloid Leukaemia.

Since Walter’s passing the McVeigh family have raised money for the two charities close to their hearts and this latest fundraiser was the perfect way to honour his memory.

The special tribute match, which remembered two of Walter’s passions during his life — Dromara Village FC and Manchester United — was an occasion to remember.

Bellsbridge was bouncing from early morning in anticipation of the Red Devils arriving for lunch and the players didn’t disappoint.

They seemed genuinely happy to stop and sign autograph books, shirts, balls and anything else that was put in from of them.

Following lunch, the United players mixed freely with the crown before getting ready for their game against Dromara Select teams.

The day out on the pitch started with a football display from the club’s youth academy players and the ground then erupted when both sets of players marched down the Dromara tunnel.

Everything went like clockwork as the United players rolled back the years, showing off skills that will never leave them.

Every kick of the ball was cheered on by a vociferous crowd who had come from near and far, making the day a spectacular success.

Dromara Village FC official Malcolm Hanna was delighted the way the day had gone and hoped that everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves.

“Dromara Village FC were honoured to facilitate this prestigious event that the McVeigh family organised to commemorate Walter’s 20 year anniversary,” he said.

“Walter, a former player and first team coach, passed away suddenly in 1999 leaving behind wife Margaret and their three children Blake, Ryan and Megan. 

“The McVeigh family and many of their friends have spent months planning this event, of which we have no doubt Walter would be very proud of. It was our pleasure to provide the facilities and hope that everyone enjoyed the occasion, he added.

“We were proud to be able to provide volunteers from our seniors, youth and ladies teams, alongside parents and the committee. Thank you to everyone who helped in the run up to the event, on the day and indeed in the clear up afterwards.”

A gala ball was then held on the Saturday evening at the Belmont Hotel where guests were able to mingle among the United legends who were still extremely accommodating. 

Walter’s son Blake, Dromara Village chairman Rab Sloane,family friends John Wright and Peter Bustard along with United’s Sammy McIlroy were some of the speakers on the evening. A great night was had by all and a wonderful way to end a fantastic day. 

The final word goes to Walter’s wide, Margaret.

“Wow — where do I begin?, she beamed.

“What a day/night we all had cannot believe the support we got from all our family and friends and Dromara Football Club in making this a day to remember to honour Walter. “Thank you each and everyone of you that helped to make it a fantastic day. Walter would be so proud.”