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Godfather of punk Terri Hooley back on his feet for launch of 'best festival'

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 03/04/2015

He may be just out of hospital after a heart bypass operation, but nothing was going to keep Belfast's Godfather of Punk from the launch of his favourite festival.

Terri Hooley - the unofficial 'Lord Mayor of the Cathedral Quarter' - is slowly getting back to full health after suffering a heart attack and pneumonia.

The 66-year-old record shop owner who discovered The Undertones was in the new Harp Bar in Belfast yesterday for the launch of the 16th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Never one to knowingly undersell anything, Hooley told the Belfast Telegraph people will support the festival again this year as it is simply "the best festival in the world". And while he joked on Facebook that after the launch he would "be in the pub being a hooligan", Terri - who was in hospital for three months - said doctors would let him hit the town until May... just as the festival gets under way.

The raconteur revealed that when he first felt unwell, he thought it was because he hadn't been drinking that weekend. "I could hardly breathe so a friend took me to hospital. It turns out I'd had a heart attack and pneumonia - which was news to me," said Terri.

"I phoned Sean Kelly (the festival director) and asked him when the launch was and I am delighted to be here.

"I'm feeling fairly well but I still have to take things easy for the next few weeks."

Mr Kelly told the audience at Willie Jack's Harp Bar on Thursday he was delighted to see Hooley up on his feet again.

"It's lovely to see you back in action Terri," he said.

In 2012 actor Richard Dormer played Hooley in the Good Vibrations movie, a chronicle of the life of the record store owner who was instrumental in developing Belfast's punk rock scene.

Belfast Telegraph

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