Flautist features on Honours list

Drew Rowan, conductor and musical director of Corcrain Flute Band who has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's Honours. INPT01-234.
Drew Rowan, conductor and musical director of Corcrain Flute Band who has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's Honours. INPT01-234.

Several people who live and work in Portadown feature in the latest New Year’s Honours List.

The Principal of Portadown’s Presentation Convent Ms Yvonne Mulholland has been awarded an MBE for services to Education.

Andrew (known as Drew) Conrad Rowan from Portadown was awarded a BEM for services to Music and the community in NI.

Mr Rowan, who is originally from the West St and Edgarstown areas, has been a member of the Corcrain Flute Band since his father David brought him 64 years ago.

Now retired and living in Waringstown, Mr Rowan, who will be 73 in January, had been in the Post Office for 17 years before taking a job in Music Services in the South Eastern Education and Library Board. He worked there for 27 years, the latter two as Head of Woodwind Department.

A talented flautist, Mr Rowan met the famous James Galway in 1971 who inspired him to continue with the flute and take it up seriously.

Drew has had an eclectic career, having conducted bands as well as taken part in hundreds of radio broadcasts.

As a soloist he has played with the BBC NI Orchestra as well as the Ulster Orchestra and has been involved in around 2000 concerts.

He was also a member of Bakerloo Junction - a folk band who toured from the 1970s. “We played everywhere and anywhere throughout the Troubles,” said Mr Rowan.

He also adjudicated at band competitions and at music festivals in Portadown and Carricfergus.

Not only a highly respected teacher, Mr Rowan was an inspiration and pathed the way for several now famous musicians who are renowned internationally. He taughter Eimear McGeown from Craigavon and he said he was pleased to recently receive a letter from her acclaiming Mr Rowan as an influential person in her life.

He also taught Keith Getty from Lisburn who is now an international hymn writer.

Drew said he is looking forward to the investiture at Hillsborough Castle with his wife Linda and sister Lorraine Lyttle who nominated him.

The father of five, who is also an organised at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church, praises his great friend and second cousin Rodney Spence from Richhill who he plays music with and regularly practices with.

Alderman James Kenneth Twyble, was awarded a BEM for services to Local Government, Education and the community in Craigavon.

Cllr Twyble worked as a teacher for 37 in Killicomaine Junior High School - ten years as Vice Principal.

He is also chair of Bocombra Primary School and Orchard County PS as well as on the Board of Governors of Portadown College.

He is also on the Methodist Board of Education and the Transferor Representatives’ Council (TRC) and the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC).

Born and bred in Portadown’s Lurgan Road, Cllr Twyble entered politics in the early 1990s when elected to the old Craigavon Council and is now, aged 75, one of the eldest members of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

He has also been mayor of Craigavon twice in 1997/98 and in 2006/7.

Highly regarded as a fair minded councillor Cllr Twyble said he has always had an interest in politics.

Mr Twyble has also been a committed lay preacher with the Methodist Church for over 50 years and is a regular Sunday preacher. He has also been involved in youth work and the Boys Brigade. “I am really touched to be receiving this honour. It is nice to feel that you are appreciated.”

Mr Bernard McComiskey was honoured with a BEM for services to Boxing and the community in Gilford Co Down.

Professor Paddy Gray, who is originally from Armagh, was awarded an OBE. He is Chair of Connswater Homes Limited and was honoured for services to the Economy in NI.