Beatrice’s medal forges memories of vocal success

Beatrice Seagust. INLT 21-600-CON
Beatrice Seagust. INLT 21-600-CON

A much-treasured silver medal, won 77 years ago in a singing contest at Carnlough and feared lost forever, has been proudly presented again in replica form.

Pensioner Beatrice Seagust was distraught when her prized award - given out at a Feis na nGleann solo competition - went missing.

The medal brought back fond memories of when Mrs Seagust was 11 years of age, and as Beatrice Akerman, she stayed on summer holiday with her grandparents, Neil and Rosetta Murray on a farm at Stoney Hill, Carnlough.

Beatrice entered the Feis na nGleann’s vocal solo for girls competition, held in Carnlough on June 28 and 29, 1936. She was listed number nine among 22 contestants in the girls’ open singing contest. Her rendition of ‘Peata Beag’ clinched first prize.

When Beatrice - who now lives at Livingston, West Lothian - discovered the medal was missing, her son Fred contacted the present Feis na nGleann Committee to see if a replacement medal could be forged.

Feis Committee members were delighted to help and had no hesitation in awarding a replica medal, and the new medal arrived just in time for her son to present it to her on Mother’s Day.

The lady herself plans to attend the upcoming Feis singing finals, as guest of honour during the opening weekend of June.

A newspaper report of Saturday July 4, 1936 in the local Larne Weekly Telegraph - the forerunner of today’s Larne Times - had the heading and sub headings , Feis of Glens, Carnlough ompetitions. large entry attracted.’

The story stated: “The Feis of the Glens was opened on Sunday at Carnlough. Rev Daniel McGuckian BA, CC,Toome, president of the Feis, introduced Louis J. Walsh, District Justice, Letterkenny, who delivered the oration.’ From the lengthy list of published results, the section for vocals, solos and choirs featured Beatrice Akerman of Carnlough winning the junior vocal solo for girls.

The runner-up ended in a tie between Sheila McAllister and Lilly McAlarey, both representing St Louis, Ballymena. In third place was Eileen McKay, Carnlough.

The junior vocal solo for boys was won by Eddie Kelly of Carnlough. followed by two other locals - Eamonn and Sean Grant.

In the Senior Vocal section, the respective winners were Mary McAlarey, Rasharkin, and Maurice McCavanagh, Belfast, with the Traditional Singing won by Eileen McIlvenna, Carnlough.