Belfast Telegraph

Trophy honour for tragic Arlene O'Hara

Husband's pride boxing cup will carry name of tragic Arlene

By Victoria O'Hara

The husband of a woman who died after an accidental overdose of painkillers has spoken of his pride after a sporting trophy was named in her memory.

Tommy O'Hara said he was delighted a boxing cup had been called the Arlene O'Hara Trophy.

"I was just so proud when I was told," he added. "Things are still up and down and I miss her every day, but things like this help me keep Arlene's memory and legacy alive.

"It is just really lovely. Arlene was really into her boxercise and sport, so it is really nice that this has been named in her honour."

Last September the father-of-two issued a heartfelt warning about the hidden dangers of painkillers after his 31-year-old wife died in March of that year.

Tommy (35) said Arlene, who worked at Dunnes in the Park Centre in west Belfast, complained of flu-like symptoms before becoming more and more unwell. She was admitted to the RVH before being moved to a London hospital, where she died.

In the wake of the tragedy he made it his mission to highlight the dangers of paracetamol, which many people wrongly think is safe.

Yesterday he said he hoped people were now more aware of what a "silent killer" the medication can be.

The Arlene O'Hara Trophy is to be presented during a gala evening tonight that includes a boxing match between Belfast Met Boxing Academy and Sheffield University.

It will be the first time Belfast Met has hosted Sheffield since establishing a partnership as part of its new Boxing Academy.

A special weigh-in of the fighters was hosted by Belfast Deputy Lord Mayor Guy Spence.

The bouts form part of a gala dinner being held at the Clayton Hotel in Belfast to celebrate the first anniversary of the academy.

Students including Commonwealth junior medallists Aidan Walsh and James McGivern were among those mounting the scales, along with a number of new female recruits to the sport.

Tommy, a caretaker at the Met's Millfield campus, welcomed the tie-up between it and Sheffield. He said: "Belfast City Council works closely with Belfast Met Boxing Academy because part of our amateur boxing strategy is about establishing links with educational establishments, providing coach mentoring and development, and encouraging more women into the sport.

"I hope it shows the visitors how seriously we take the sport and that we look forward to success tonight."

Belfast Telegraph


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