SPECIAL GESTURE One of the Naomi Peppard prints being raffled by Maggie McGing at an upcoming night of music and song in memory of her late husband, John, former landlord of McGing's Pub.
Now is your chance to own a limited-edition print of an artwork by renowned artist Naomi Peppard — one of two unique paintings that were specially commissioned in the 1990s by the late John McGing, former long-time landlord of McGing’s Pub, High Street, the oldest public house in Westport.
The artworks, caricatures depicting the atmosphere and many of the characters of McGing’s, hung in the pub for many years.
Having recently presented one of the original artworks to Claire and Anthony Finnegan of McGing’s Pub, John’s wife Maggie is going a step further to raise funds for a worthy cause. She will raffle a high-quality print of each artwork at a musical celebration of John’s life in McGing’s on January 20, to raise money for the Fundraiser for Independent Living for The Mitchell Sisters*. The date marks the first anniversary of John’s funeral.
John McGing night
“Mc Ging’s was always an oasis of laughter and friendship,” explains Maggie. “This was due to the lovely people and unique characters who were customers there, but also John’s humour wit and warmth. He sold the pub in 2004 but maintained close contact with it and its customers who are still valued friends.
“John died on January 17 last year. I got a lot of comfort on the day of the funeral from the support of family and friends, from the beautiful ceremony conducted by Fr Charlie [McDonell], the music in the church and graveyard and above all from the fantastic music session that night in McGing’s Pub to celebrate John’s life.
“There was a queue of musicians from all over Ireland wishing to play and recount their memories of John and McGing’s. During the session, many approached me to say they would like to have an annual John McGing night on the anniversary of his death. This was when the idea of a John McGing night was born. I knew that on his first anniversary, and hopefully subsequent ones, I would ask the musicians and his friends to come together to celebrate his life. I also felt that it was important that the event would support and help others.”
And so the idea of raffling the Naoimi Peppard prints so loved by John McGing was born.
The Mitchell Sisters
When they were in their late teens, Mairéad (now 28) and Aoibheann Mitchell (26) were first diagnosed with a debilitating condition called Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, characterised by progressive weakness and spasticity (stiffness) of the legs.
The girls’ family home is no longer suitable or indeed safe for their needs, and the family hopes to build two purpose-built units so they can live independently into the future.
Their mother, Kathleen McDonnell, is from Liscarney, Westport, and the sisters are regular visitors to the area. A range of fundraisers have been organised locally to help the Mitchell sisters and their family achieve their goal, and Maggie McGing’s raffle forms part of this fundraising drive.
“John quietly and anonymously supported many worthy causes while he was alive,” says Maggie. “I know he would have supported the Mitchell sisters in their quest for independent living.”
Maggie also reveals another personal reason for being drawn to the sisters’ plight. “This cause is also close to my own heart. My brother Eugene who died on September 27, was an advocate of living independently,” she explains. “When he was 18 he sustained a high-level spinal injury and was paralysed from the neck down. He was a board member of the Cheshire Foundation and for over a decade was chairman of the Centre of Independent Living. He worked tirelessly to promote the idea of people with disabilities having the right to live a full and independent life.”
Cheshire Ireland provides a range of support services to people with both physical and neurological conditions in their homes, in residential centres, in supported accommodation and in stand alone respite facilities.
Naomi Peppard, herself a patron of McGing’s during the ’90s, was influenced by CS Lewis, Edward Lear and John Tolkien. She painted from sketches and photographs, and exhibited in the Dalkey Art Gallery Dublin and various venues in New York.
She now lives in Dublin, where she continues to work as a professional artist. She visits her sister, Lucy Fabby, who lives locally in Westport, often.
One of Peppard’s most recent commissions was the illustration of a book written by Don Briggs in support of the Temple Street Foundation, ‘The return of the Dragon’.
Tickets for Maggie McGing’s raffle are €5 each. They are available from McGing’s Pub, The Castlecourt Hotel and The Clew Bay Hotel.
The draw will be held in McGing’s, Westport, on January 20, when patrons will come together to celebrate John McGing’s legacy with music and song.
*After this article was published Maggie McGing was delighted to learn that the fundraising drive for the Mitchell sisters has now ended, as the girls have reached the target they needed to build two homes, and they can now look forward to living independently. The funds raised by the raffle will now be directed to the above-mentioned and related charity, the Mayo Centre for Independent Living (Mayo CIL).