Radio Ulster's Kerry McLean back behind mic after maternity leave
Broadcaster Kerry McLean made her return to the airwaves yesterday after six months away on maternity leave.
Settling back into her weekday afternoon slot on BBC Radio Ulster, she announced her arrival with Thin Lizzy classic The Boys Are Back In Town.
"I don't know about the boys, but I'm certainly back today," she said. "Thank you all so much for all the lovely messages that have come in. It's great to be back in the seat again."
Kerry, who is married to fellow Radio Ulster broadcaster Ralph McLean and has three children - Tara (9), Dan (7) and baby Eve, who is six months old - also admitted she was a little nervous.
"I just about remember how the studio desk works, so bear with me if you hear something weird or wonderful coming through - it's me hitting the wrong buttons," she joked.
Many of Kerry's fans went online to welcome their favourite broadcaster back.
Listener Maggie O'Turbett tweeted: "Normal service has been resumed, Kerry's back!"
Ursula Murphy added: "Looking forward to having Kerry McLean back on the airwaves to keep us company this sunny Monday afternoon - good luck!"
Throughout her absence Kerry kept up the close relationship she enjoys with her listeners on social media.
"It is really nice," she said in a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph. "There is always that fear that if I'm away for too long people will forget about me. To know that people who we already know are loyal to Radio Ulster are also loyal to me is really touching.
"I'm lucky that I have been off during the era of social media as I have been able to stay in touch with listeners through Twitter and Facebook, and that has been really lovely."
While Kerry and her husband have been celebrating the arrival of Eve, recent months have also brought heartbreak for the family with the sudden death of Kerry's father Shaun Turner in March. Mr Turner, described as a fun man who loved playing with his grandchildren, died just six days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Opening up about the loss, Kerry said: "I'm just taking it day by day.
"We have a very close family and you do feel it when you lose someone close so unexpectedly and so suddenly. Some days I am coping okay and then other days something daft will come up and it just hits me.
"Since dad's death so many people have been in touch, including so many other families who have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer.
"Some of them have had a very rough ride, and I wasn't even aware of pancreatic cancer before or that it has touched so many lives."
With her father unaware of his illness until he was diagnosed, and enjoying a holiday just weeks beforehand, Kerry took some measure of comfort "that daddy didn't have to face that elongated, painful period".
"The child in me wants him to be here for ever, but the adult in me is pleased that it was so quick and he didn't suffer," she said.
And looking forward to her first week back at work, Kerry added: "I do get such a laugh in my job and there are days when I think: 'Surely I can't get paid for having this much fun'.
"It is just wonderful to think that the listeners are as excited as I am."