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Boost for event to celebrate rugby player

British and Irish Lions captain Willie John McBride and the famous mascot, both of whom will be at the Oliver Turkington Memorial dinner in September.

British and Irish Lions captain Willie John McBride and the famous mascot, both of whom will be at the Oliver Turkington Memorial dinner in September.

An event to celebrate the life of Moira man Oliver Turkington, has been gived a financial boost.

Two Coleraine Inst Old Boys who played rugby for the school in Japan 25 years ago have joined corporate forces to provide a huge boost to an event being held to celebrate the life of their former teammate Oliver, who boarded at the school.

Ian Coulter, Managing Partner of corporate law firm Tughans, and Michael Nelson, Technical Director of independent engineering consultancy Doran Consulting, were key members of the CAI 1st XV squad which toured in the Far East in 1989, lining up at inside centre and number eight respectively.

But it was Oliver Turkington, also aged 18 at the time, who was widely viewed as the on-field star of the four-game trip.

In 2007, Oliver, from Moira and a boarder at the school, sadly succumbed to synovial sarcoma - a rare form of cancer - after a seven-year battle. And on Saturday, September 13, his ex-teammates, friends, family members and many others will gather at Coleraine Inst for a special dinner to mark the silver anniversary of the tour and to remember Oliver.

British and Irish Lions legend Willie John McBride will be principal speaker, with local comedy duo Grimes and McKee acting as co-hosts.

Ian, originally from Ballyclare, and Michael, from Portstewart, have stepped forward on behalf of their firms to provide sponsorship for the charity event. With the agreement of his family, proceeds from the Oliver Turkington Memorial Dinner will be split between Cancer Research UK and rugby development at Coleraine Inst.

Craig Turkington, Oliver’s youngest brother, added: “Ian and Michael were valued friends to Oliver and it is humbling they have stepped forward to support the memorial dinner in this way. A lot of good will come from the evening, not least the money that will benefit the two very worthy causes. Oliver would’ve been incredibly proud of the efforts being made on his behalf, as is everyone in the family.”

 

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