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Recalling ballroom of romance

By Eddie McIlwaine

Couples who met and fell in love once upon a time in the Commercial Ballroom at Ann Street, Dungannon, will be meeting up for a night of nostalgia in the town's Gables Ballroom tonight.

The event will bring back memories of the nights their eyes met across the dancefloor and love blossomed.

The anniversary of the ballroom's opening in 1965 comes up on Thursday, December 21, but the organisers of tonight's bash have decided to get in before the Christmas rush.

Alas the old place was burned down in the early 70s, I'm reminded by Vinney O'Donnell, who used to play there with Brian Coll.

Lulu, Engelbert Humperdinck and Freddie and the Dreamers were among the national pop stars who appeared at the ballroom. Tonight at the Gables reunion, the Five Star Rhythm Boys will be on stage to recall those heady days.

Vinney, now a 73-year-old grandfather who is organising the get together, and his wife Mary didn't meet in the Commercial but at another hall in the town.

Tonight at the Gables will raise funds for a youth flute band that is being established.

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