Four legged friend joins local flute band

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One of Lisburn’s most successful flute bands - Pride of Knockmore - were joined by their newest member at the recent Remembrance Parade in Lisburn.

Taking inspiration from the Royal Irish Regiment, the band had been on the lookout for an Irish Wolfhound to act as a mascot when Pride of Knockmore were taking part in major parades, such as their annual Remembrance Parade in November.

Mervyn Adams from the band set about finding an Irish Wolfhound and finally came across Mrs Shirley Scott in Irvinestown, who was delighted to let one of her two Irish Wolfhounds go on parade with the Lisburn band.

Mrs Scott, who has a long family history in the British Army, said she was honoured to be asked by the band to use four year-old Tullagh as their mascot.

Tullagh’s first outing with the band was at a Remembrance Parade in Lisburn on November 7, which was particularly poignant for Mrs Scott, as her father had been killed during the Second World War.

“My father Geoffrey Ernest Sullivan Proes, was commissioned in the Royal Artillery serving with his regiment in Shanghai in the 1920’s and then in Hong Kong,” explained Mrs Scott. “My mother, brother and myself were evacuated to Australia in May 1941 and my father stayed behind. He was killed during the first week of the Japanese invasion when he went to investigate the explosions,”

Mrs Scott, her mother and brother remained in Australia during the war, before beginning the long journey to the UK three years later.

“We were in New Zealand for two weeks and then travelled to Boston to meet up with a British convoy. It was all women and children on board and the conditions were terrible,” she recalls. “The convoy was hit by a German torpedo. We weren’t hit bit the tanker beside us was and we were very frightened. The convoy split up and we made our way to Liverpool.”

Eventually the young family came to Northern Ireland in 1947, where Mrs Scott has remained ever since. Her new home was particularly appropriate as her grandfather, Douglas Wilfred Churcher, served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers before and during the siege of Ladysmith in which there was great loss of life. Later he commanded the regiment in England and then in France in 1914 with many casualties at Mons and LeCateau. His name is inscribed on one of the pews in the Regimental Chapel of Armagh Cathedral and some of his military memorabilia are held in the Armagh Museum.

With such a strong military background, Mrs Scott was delighted to let Tullagh become the mascot for the Pride of Knockmore when they went on parade for Remembrance Day and she looks forward to their next outing with the Lisburn band.