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Barry's Amusements in warm tribute to beloved Hobby Horse Man Colm Quinn

By David Young

Published 12/06/2015

The late Colm Quinn on a ride at Barry’s
The late Colm Quinn on a ride at Barry’s
A hobby horse like the one being made in Colm’s memory

The family who own Barry's Amusements in Portrush are to dedicate a specially-commissioned hobby horse to the memory of their longest-serving and best-loved employee - Colm Quinn, affectionately known as the 'Hobby Horse Man'.

Colm worked in Barry's for more than 60 years - and when he died aged 79 earlier his year more than 4,000 people got in touch to pay tribute to him for the pleasure he gave, and to express their sadness at his passing.

Barry's owner Kristina Trufelli said: "It's taken a little longer than we anticipated to get the right horse, but we now have it.

"It just needs to be painted for the health and safety people to give us the OK, and it will be ready for the dedication."

She added: "Colm was a very special person.

"A real gentleman, with a heart of gold. Everyone loved him.

"He was a massive part of our life - even taking care of my sister and I when our father died.

"Colm had a beautiful personality - and when people learned he was in hospital many wanted to visit him.

"Many of the hospital staff who remembered him from their childhood visited his bedside.

"We all miss him very much."

And judging by the tributes which have poured in since Colm's death, so do many thousands of others, for whom a day out to enjoy Barry's amusements to meet the Hobby Horse Man is a treasured childhood memory. Colm's brother Tommy said that the dedication of a new hobby horse was a "wonderful gesture" by the Trufelli family, owners of the amusement park.

"Barry's is a family place. It's special. The Trufellis are great people," he said.

Speaking fondly of his late brother, Tommy added: "Colm was known as the Hobby Horse Man and I think people will remember him well.

"He was one of those fellas who had a knack with people.

"He had great success with the carousel, because people warmed to him.

"He liked to see generations of people come back with their own children and when people said they were some of the happiest times of their lives, being on the horses."

It's expected that it will be at least two more weeks before the new hobby horse will be dedicated in Colm's memory.

Barry's Amusements opened in the 1920s in Portrush.

Its carousels, ghost train, rollercoaster, shooting and video games and many other attractions have made it one of the biggest draws on the north coast since that time.

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