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Apprentice Boys and “Relief of Derry”

painting supports Children with cerebral palsy at Buddy Bear Trust School, Dungannon


Mr Jim Brownlee, Governors of the Apprentice Boys added his signature to an oil painting depicting of the “Relief of Derry “by Brendan McConville, artist and chairman of the Buddy Bear Trust Conductive Education School in Dungannon for children with cerebral palsy.


Blockade from Tower

The oil painting, entitled “The Relief of Derry”, was created by the local artist and chair of the Buddy Bear Trust, Brendan McConville to raise funds and to promote the the Buddy Bear Trust a charity which has helped children with cerebral palsy for 25 years.

“The Trust has managed for 20 years the only Conductive Education specialist school in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, for young children from all parts of NI who suffer from cerebral palsy and other motor disorders.  We know that early intervention and Conductive Education can make a lifetime of difference to a child and a family.  We have visible proof that it works for some children but early intervention is essential”, said Brendan McConville, a retired Education Officer .

John Hume, John Taylor and Dr Paisley, the leaders of the then main political parties held the first press conference 25 years ago to help us launch the campaign to bring Conductive Education from the Peto Institute in Budapest to Ireland.  We opened a Conductive Education School in Dungannon  20 years ago as it is central to NI and the border counties of the Republic.   In 2006 the Assembly resolved that the school should be funded and supported but the parents are still waiting on the funds being made available.  We have to rely on Donations from the public, clubs and schools while we campaign for Government help.

We are delighted that Mr.Jim Brownlee, Governor of the Apprentice Boys has agreed to give our children his support.  It is a great honour for my painting and the Buddy Bear Trust Campaign to be formally included in the history of Derry particularly as it the City of Culture.

The story of the “Relief of Derry” is part of the social and historical fabric of our Maiden City of Culture and Ireland.  An understanding and appreciation of our past is one of the many stepping stones to a shared future. I would encourage schools and the public to visit the Memorial Hall to visit the museum. Mr. Brownlee gave us a unique tour which ended when we reached the top of the building where we had a unique view of Derry including the place where the blockage was broken to allow the Relief ships through.

Signing with Buddy

Our special children deserve a better future and need the help of the whole community if they are to realise their potential. The character of a person and a community is judged not on wealth or power but on how the most vulnerable and less able are supported.

We are making a video of the work of the Buddy Bear Trust and are currently waiting for one or two decision makers to add their support to enable us to finalise it. Many of the contributors maybe on YouTube Buddy Bear Trust

Mr. Brownlee, Governor said: “Charitable giving is an essential and fundamental part of Apprentice Boys and we are happy to support this initiative in aid of the Buddy Bear Trust.”

“On behalf of an institution deeply committed to helping those in need, I would like to commend the work of Brendan and all the staff at the charity based Conductive Education School in Dungannon.”

Brendan McConville said: “Our children come from all sections of our community. Cerebral palsy can strike at a child in any home regardless of religious, political or social background, with statistics showing that one child in 400 suffers from the condition. We need your support. We need volunteer fund raisers as we don’t employ them.”

Brendan added: “We are delighted that the Governor of the Apprentice Boys has agreed to help our children and to promote the school. We look forward to showing the draft video to Members and letting more parents know that help is available in N.Ireland. 

 “We also hope to offer unique personalised copies of the “The Relief of Derry” to Apprentice Boys’ Lodges throughout Ireland and worldwide.”



Apprentice Boys

We wish you every success in all that you do now and hope to achieve in the future.

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