King of Strabane is celebrated

Pat Gillespie's sons Joe and Pascal are pictured with their sisters Madeline, Anne, Jean and Evelyn at the special event marking the hand over of  artefacts donated by the Gillespie family to Derry City & Strabane District Council. Missing from the photograph are their siblings Betty and John. (PIC SUBMITTED)
Pat Gillespie's sons Joe and Pascal are pictured with their sisters Madeline, Anne, Jean and Evelyn at the special event marking the hand over of artefacts donated by the Gillespie family to Derry City & Strabane District Council. Missing from the photograph are their siblings Betty and John. (PIC SUBMITTED)

King of Strabane, Pat Gillespie, one of the town’s best-known sons, is being remembered through a special exhibition of personal artefacts depicting the centenarian’s colourful life at the Alley Theatre.

The items have been gifted by Pat’s family, and will eventually form part of a wider exhibition focusing on the history of Strabane where Pat spent the best part of his 102 years before his death in August 2019.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, held a special reception for the Gillespie family, to convey the appreciation of the City and District and to remember Pat’s remarkable life. She said it was important to reflect on the contribution that Pat had made to the life of Strabane.

Whether it was proudly leading the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade, speed boat racing or winning table tennis championships, his zest for life was infectious and Pat earned a special place in the hearts of the people of Strabane.

A keen collector of artefacts himself, Pat had amassed a collection of memorabilia - some of which will be going on permanent display at the Alley Theatre. There are also plans in development for a wider exhibition on Strabane’s History & Heritage which will be based at the Alley from March 2020 featuring items from the Council’s Strabane Collection.