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Unique stamp put on David's hobby by link to newspapers

By Eddie McIlwaine

You could say that retired process worker David McClements has put his stamp on the newspaper business. This member of four philatelic societies has 46 albums packed with postcards, envelopes and airmails, every single one of them relating to papers published all over the world.

"I'm fascinated by the Press," explains the 81-year-old. "Apart from reading the dailies and the weeklies I've been collecting references to these publications and their editors and printing houses since 1958. For example if a paper is celebrating an anniversary with a postmark, a commemorative hand stamp, a special envelope or even an airmail I want it in my collection.

"I have more than 70 newspapers worldwide in my albums already, including the Belfast Telegraph and the Scotsman," adds this member of the Lagan Valley Philatelic Society, the North of Ireland Philatelic Society, the American Topical Association and the Graphics Philatelic Association.

In his collection is an advertising cover from the Bahamas to Belfast which I reproduce, publicising the Lighthouse Literature Mission, which in the early 1900s published The Lightkeeper Magazine. It was founded by a Samuel H Strain in Belfast and was distributed to lighthouse keepers around the world.

And apart from the newspaper flavour of his hobby, David has an impressive collection of stamps which this Carryduff man has been putting together since he was nine years old.

He is intrigued by the career of Australian war correspondent AB Paterson who reported the Boer War for the Sydney Morning Herald. His nom-de-plume was Banjo under which, away from journalism, he wrote the ballads Waltzing Matilda and The Man from Snowy River.

But even more intriguing is the fact the late Lady Marie Bury of Mountstewart, who died in 2009, was patron of David's North of Ireland Philatelic Society and a passionate stamp collector whose collection was sold at a London auction two years ago for £4m. David has several of Lady Marie's unused albums in his possession.

Johanna sings songs of haunting beauty

A ghost is about to stalk the Opera House in Belfast - but this spectre won't be giving the frighteners to 21-year-old singer Johanna Johnston. You see it's Ghost the Musical I'm talking about which opens at the theatre on Tuesday, courtesy of Ulster Operatic and based on the iconic Oscar-winning 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

Johanna from Larne has the role of Molly Jenson in this love story which delves into the psychic and features the hit song Unchained Melody.

The plot centres on a young woman called Molly (played in the movie by Miss Moore), the ghost of her murdered lover (Swayze) and a reluctant psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) who assists him in saving her.

Now it's Johanna's turn to star in a story that delighted cinema audiences many years before she was born, when it was screened at picture houses across the province.

She has been involved in musical theatre since the age of 16 and was nominated for an award when she had the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at the Grand Opera House last year.

Omen was shoe-in for pal Roy

It was good to see my old friend Roy Coyle back in football at the age of 70 as stand-in manager of Glentoran until they made a new appointment last week.

When he was a Linfield player in the mid-50s and I was one of Malcolm Brodie's team of Ireland Saturday Night match reporters, I called into the Windsor Park dressing room to check the teams just before kick-off at one match and eagle-eyed Coyle spotted I was wearing odd shoes.

They were Hush Puppies, one black and the other brown, but so alike when I had slipped into them in haste in a darkened bedroom that morning.

Roy saw it as a lucky omen - the Blues beat Coleraine that afternoon - and asked me to wear them again the following week. I refused.

This Northern Ireland international (when he was a player with Sheffield Wednesday) didn't need lucky odd shoes to win matches as a player or manager.

In his time as Linfield manager - between 1975 and 1990 - he won 31 trophies. Plus a lot more with Glentoran which he managed too in his heyday.

Gary Haveron stepped into Roy's shoes last week when he was appointed new Glens boss.

Cinderella has a ball in the circus

You always know Christmas is on the way when Cinderella takes a bow at a theatre somewhere. However this time at the Theatre in the Mill at Mossley in Newtownabbey, Cinders will be taking flight.

Courtesy of Fidget Feet Aerial Dance Theatre, this traditional panto character will be right up there in the air in a show called Cinder and The Ellas tomorrow.

That's right, the darling one goes flying in this classic fairy tale, full of aerial circus acts.

Cinder and the Ellas dream of running away with the circus - all they have to do is win the heart of the handsome Prince who runs the big top and is looking for a new aerial act to star in his next production.

There will be two performances at 1.00pm and 4.00pm tomorrow.

The time Sir Terry showed my family his passion for fashion

Every time Terry Wogan, who died in January, was in Belfast we would get together and we talked occasionally on the phone.

One afternoon, a while back, he and I were chatting in a private room at the Europa Hotel when we were interrupted by a receptionist on the line to inform us that my daughter Zara had just arrived.

I thought that news would signal the end of our meet, but no. "Send Zara and her friend up to the room," Terry informed the receptionist.

When they arrived, Zara and Jill who had been shopping for dresses, were invited to show them to Terry.

For the next 45 minutes I was sidelined to a back seat while he talked to the girls about fashion, school, career plans and hobbies. The two 17-year-olds have never forgotten that afternoon.

How a stint in Belfast put Paxman in a more troubled state of mind

In his new memoirs A Life in Questions former Newsnight inquisitor Jeremy Paxman hints that one of the causes of a near breakdown he suffered when he was 35 was down to the time he spent in Belfast as a journalist during the Troubles.

He was here for three years in the 70s and it must have been tough for him - but no tougher than it was for the rest of us reporters, many of whom were based in Belfast permanently. I hasten to add that Jeremy, around this time, was also reporting from trouble spots Zimbabwe and the Lebanon where he developed insomnia and when he did have nightmares. However, the interviewer who spent several years seeing a therapist and on anti-depressants, refused to wallow.

King of TV's natural world is main attraction in Limavady

BBC presenter and writer Simon King who has a passion for the natural world headlines this year's Steinbeck Celebration at the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council's Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre in Limavady.

The Human Heart and the Land event runs until October 19.

Simon, an award-winning cameraman, has played an instrumental role in some of the best known programmes - including Springwatch, Big Cat Diary, Planet Earth, Blue Planet and the Life series. He has also worked on the Disney production, African Cats.

Having just published his first book - entitled Nature Watch - Simon will treat his audience to an evening of stories and insights into the natural world tonight.

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