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Misspelt NI street honouring Olympian Ronnie Delany to be corrected after 60 years

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Derry City and Strabane Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle with resident Mary Sharkey in Delaney Crescent. It has come to light that the street name has been spelt incorrectly and should be Delany Crescent. The street off Olympic Drive is named after athlete Ronnie Delany from Strabane who won a Gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 1500m. Picture Martin McKeown. 20.05.20

Derry City and Strabane Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle with resident Mary Sharkey in Delaney Crescent. It has come to light that the street name has been spelt incorrectly and should be Delany Crescent. The street off Olympic Drive is named after athlete Ronnie Delany from Strabane who won a Gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 1500m. Picture Martin McKeown. 20.05.20

The incorrectly spelt Delaney Crescent in Strabane. it should read Delany Crescent, after 1956 Olympian Ronnie Delany who won a gold medal in the 1,500m final in Melbourne. Picture Martin McKeown. 20.05.20

The incorrectly spelt Delaney Crescent in Strabane. it should read Delany Crescent, after 1956 Olympian Ronnie Delany who won a gold medal in the 1,500m final in Melbourne. Picture Martin McKeown. 20.05.20

Derry City and Strabane Mayor, Councillor Michaela Boyle with resident Mary Sharkey in Delaney Crescent. It has come to light that the street name has been spelt incorrectly and should be Delany Crescent. The street off Olympic Drive is named after athlete Ronnie Delany from Strabane who won a Gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 1500m. Picture Martin McKeown. 20.05.20

A street in Strabane named in honour of Olympian Ronnie Delany shortly after he won his gold medal in 1956 had the wrong spelling of his surname for over 60 years.

Houses in Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive, which run parallel, were completed just weeks after Ronnie Delany won his medal in the Melbourne Games.

And while it was decided to honour the athlete, no one checked the spelling of his surname.

The mistake was only pointed out at the weekend by Irish Athletic historian Pierce O’Callaghan, but was quickly picked up by Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Michaela Boyle, who is determined to correct it before she stands down from her position in a few weeks.

Mr O’Callaghan said Mr Delany was unaware of the honour bestowed on him by the people of Strabane but was nonetheless delighted, and would like to attend the unveiling of the corrected sign. He is considering inviting his friend, Olympic star Sebastian Coe, to come too.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr O’Callaghan explained how the events unfurled, saying: “I set up an Irish Athletics History social media page in January and one of the contributions to it was a photograph of Delaney Crescent in Strabane named after Ronnie Delany.

“I casually mentioned that the spelling wasn’t right and that wouldn’t it be great if was corrected and I could bring Ronnie up to see it.

“Less than a couple of hours later the Mayor, Michaela Boyle, came on to the page and said that was a great idea and she was going to follow up on it.

“I mentioned it to Ronnie and he told me he had never been aware of it but he was delighted and even though he is 85, he is sprightly and lives in.

“I know there’s a bit of work to do to make this happen but I said to the Mayor, I will bring Ronnie up to Strabane and we might be able to get Sebastian Coe to come too because he is good friends with Ronnie.”

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and greets Olympic Flame carriers Ronnie Delany and Bridget Taylor outside Government Buildings in Dublin city centre on June 6, 2012. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and greets Olympic Flame carriers Ronnie Delany and Bridget Taylor outside Government Buildings in Dublin city centre on June 6, 2012. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire

PA

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (left) and greets Olympic Flame carriers Ronnie Delany and Bridget Taylor outside Government Buildings in Dublin city centre on June 6, 2012. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Before a new sign is erected, the corrected spelling of Delaney Crescent needs to be recorded with Derry and Strabane Council - a process the Mayor has already begun.

Ms Boyle said: “I grew up just two streets away from Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive and I have to admit, like most people in Strabane I never made the connection.

“This was brought to my attention on Sunday evening and on Monday morning I contacted our chief executive, John Kelpie, to find out what needs to happen to correct this and we are already working on it

“It will take some time to go through that process and get everything in place but I really, really want to get this done before my time as Mayor is over.”

Belfast Telegraph