A handwritten tribute epitomising the values and beliefs of late Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine penned by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney will be auctioned in Belfast tonight.
Money raised from the piece will go towards the foundation set up in honour of Mr Ervine who died just over two years ago. The auction is being held as part of a special event put together by the David Ervine Foundation for the Cathedral Arts Quarter Festival.
The tribute, written and signed by the south Derry poet, says: “Education, according to the poet Robert Frost, changes the plane of regard — and David Ervine would have agreed. He was an exemplary man of our place and our peace, somebody who believed that where there was a right word there was a right way, and acted accordingly.” Besides the auction a special memorial talk — Ending Conflict Through Dialogue — will also be staged featuring a guest speaker who has yet to be named.
US Senator George Mitchell was the guest speaker at last year’s event.
\[Susan Penman\]Friend and former colleague Dawn Purvis said the foundation was grateful to the renowned Irish poet for writing a personal piece on the 53-year-old who was a passionate supporter of the peace process.
“We are deeply honoured that Seamus Heaney has penned his own personal tribute to David, which epitomises the man and the objectives of this foundation,” she said.
“We hope to raise a lot of money in auctioning this piece - money which will help us to assist our young people right across the communities.”
Also taking place at tonight’s event will be the distribution of a series of grants totalling £36,000 to a number of community-based projects.
Mr Ervine’s widow, Jeanette, who helped to establish the foundation explained each project which was awarded funding at tonight’s event were projects that were in line with the foundation’s aims.
“Our aim in setting up this foundation is to enable disadvantaged children and young people to reach their full potential - to give them a vision and a chance to do their best.”The David Ervine Memorial Talk and auction will be held at the Black Box at 7pm tonight.