Next year is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Longford Association London as they prepare to celebrate their 60th anniversary.
Their sixtieth annual dinner and dance, being hosted in the Crown Moran Hotel, Cricklewood, will take place on Saturday, February 21 and a wonderful night is promised to celebrate the occasion.
Speaking to the Leader about the associationâ€™s milestone, Treasurer Michael McCann (a native of Newtownforbes) explained, â€œIt began with a meeting at the Irish Club in Eaton Place, Central London.â€
Only about six people attended the meeting, but the association quickly grew.
Many good times have been shared by the members of the association, and Michael recalled, â€œWeâ€™ve had lovely dinner dances for a number of years.â€ In particular, the Treasurer remembers events at the Galtymore Ballroom and the Gresham Ballroom in North London, which was a great dance hall and a renowned venue for performances by Irish showbands.
â€œWe had our fortieth in Longford, in the Longford Arms Hotel,â€ Michael added.
Though there are plenty of good times and memories to look back on, the association has also faced many difficulties, particularly in recruiting new members.
â€œItâ€™s a major problem, especially attracting the new immigrants who are coming over now,â€ Michael continued. â€œItâ€™s very difficult to get them interested in the association.â€
With that said, however, Michael added that it is â€œan achievementâ€ for the association to be celebrating its sixtieth anniversary. â€œIt is great to have been able to keep the association going for so long,â€ he said.
Attention is now focused on the celebrations, with preparations in full swing. It is hoped that Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Francis Duffy will be in attendance. Also on the guest list are the Irish Ambassador in London, Dan Mulhall and Carrickedmond native Michael Egan, the last surviving founder-member of the association.
The association is also seeking old photographs or reminiscences of past functions, outings or meetings, as they hope to produce a special souvenir menu to mark the occasion.
â€œIâ€™d like to appeal to all the post-Celtic Tiger Irish immigrants to give us a bit of support and to come along and see what weâ€™re at,â€ Michael stated, adding that the association also extend a warm welcome to past members of the group who have lost contact.
For more information, visit www.thelongfordassociationinlondon.com.