Belfast Telegraph

Battleaxe May McFettridge in cameo as comedian John Linehan walks his daughter down the aisle

By Joanne Sweeney

Famous pantomime dame John Linehan walked his daughter down the aisle at the weekend - and his alter ego May McFettridge was nowhere to be seen.

It was a day the Northern Ireland star was happy to leave his Belfast fishwife character in the shade as he gave his 31-year-old daughter Kerry away to Paul Lunney (34) at St Gerard's Roman Catholic Church on the Antrim Road, Belfast.

He and his wife Brenda hosted 200 guests, including household names such as family relative Eamonn Holmes and singer Peter Corry, at the church wedding followed by a lavish reception at the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

Mr Linehan and Eamonn Holmes have a special bond besides that of blood, as the panto star comforted the TV presenter's father as he lay stricken with a heart attack, after being first on the scene.

John also got his big break when Eamonn asked him to phone his radio show in character - and a star was born.

Northern Ireland's best-loved dame admitted that the walk down the aisle on Saturday brought a tear to his eye.

The emotion was partly down to the pride that any father naturally feels when he gives his daughter away - particularly as it was the first time he had done so.

But for John, it was also an occasion that only a few years ago he would have absolutely dreaded.

After years of crippling pain in his leg, he needed to have a complete knee replacement in March, 2013.

In order to ensure that he was able to keep up with his hectic work schedule - and unable to withstand the daily pain he felt any longer - John had the operation done privately at the Kingsbridge Hospital.

The 63-year-old told the Belfast Telegraph: "Walking your daughter down the aisle is a very poignant moment in any father's life.

"Kerry is my first daughter to get married, so thank God I was able to walk her down the aisle straight. If I hadn't have had the operation on my knee, I may have had to go down with a crutch or in a wheelchair, or even her pushing me down.

"If the op hadn't been done, I honestly don't know where I'd be today."

Unable to resist a joke, he added: "Her husband Paul has been with her for 16 years, so it was a very long engagement.

"Maybe they were waiting on me to be fully fit before they got married. Well, that's what I'm putting it down to. She wanted me to walk her down, so that's why there was an extension, that's my story."

While May might have had her nose put out of joint over not being invited to the church service, John said that she made a "wee surprise appearance" at the reception, just to say hello to the guests. John added: "May was over the moon at the wedding and she had a great time checking out all the dresses and what everyone was wearing.

"I don't know about her, but my pocket was a lot lighter at the end of the day."

Also included in the bridal group were John's other daughter Donna and his 17-year-old grandson Johnny.

The happy newlyweds are now on honeymoon in the US.

Belfast Telegraph


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