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The best advice my mum ever gave me ...

Kerry McKittrick and Jamie McDowell ask some local personalities what pearls of wisdom were handed down to them as children.

They say that a mother only gives out her advice on two occasions: when you want it, and when you don't. That may ring true in the memories of many of us, and this Mothering Sunday we'll have ample opportunity to tell our mums just how much we love them, or reminisce on the advice of those we've lost.

Some mothers take great pride and are extremely protective of their children right through their lives, and some mothers do 'ave 'em, yet for many of us our mother will be the first port of call when we go through that traumatic event, a stressful period or simply want to share a bit of good news.

We asked a few local famous faces what the best bit of advice their mother gave to them was...

Chris Henry

The 27-year-old from Belfast, plays back row for the Ulster rugby team. He says:

My mum, Denise, always told me that actions speak louder than words — both on and off the pitch — and that I should always remember that. She said that some people talk a good game but don’t actually deliver anything and that I should do the right things and not just say the right things. That’s the measure of real friends and genuine people.

People who've done what they said they’d do? They're the people you can rely on and trust, and those are the qualities that are vital in a team, on the pitch and in real life. Given my chosen profession I think this advice is fitting and has served me well.

My mum also told me that I should always look after my teeth and brush twice a day. That's sound advice in my opinion... This Mother’s Day I’ll be treating her to lunch at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast — it’s one of her favourites, so I’m listening to her advice on that, too...

Pamela Ballantine

The broadcaster and journalist (53) lives in Belfast. She says:

My mum is called Edna Roulston and we've always been close. I go to mum when I'm sick. About 15 years ago I had my tonsils out and even though I was married at the time, it was to my mum's house I went to recover. Sometimes she accuses me of only calling her when I'm sick but I'm sure that's not true.

Mum's given me a lot of pearls of wisdom over the years. The three of us children were always taught the value of things like treating people with respect regardless of who they were.

Mum always says things like ‘to thine own self be true'. In other words be yourself where you can.

I always used to say to mum it was as well she never had only one child as she would never have known what they were doing.

When we were younger my sister, brother and I would all squeal on each other so she always knew what was going on.

Michael Quinn

The award-winning hairdresser (39) lives in Belfast with his civil partner Gary Duff. He says:

The best advice my mother ever gave to me was to be as successful as you can be at what you do. She's always told me to keep my head in the air and never forget my roots.

I've always been very close to my mum — Rose — she's the one person I go to if I want proper advice on something.

She will be very straight with me and won't pull her punches.

When I decided to move the salon from Dungannon to Belfast she was great. She told me that you should take chances while you're young.

Carl Frampton

The undefeated Commonwealth super bantamweight boxer (25) from Tiger’s Bay, Belfast. He says:

My mum, Flo, was the person who really convinced me to keep up at the boxing. I guess she could see from an early age that I had a talent, and she was determined to make sure that I didn't waste it.

When I was young, like any young lad in Tiger's Bay, I was more concerned with running about with my mates than anything else and at times I would have chosen that over going to training. Basically, it was my mum who advised me to keep going to training and to stick at boxing, and that advice has really paid off for me.

I'm fighting tomorrow in Sheffield against Prosper Ankrah and my mum will be there to support me. I won't be home until late on Mother's Day but I'll have a card for my mum and if the fight goes well we'll have a double celebration. The next day I'm flying off to Paris with my fiancée so unfortunately I won't have long to spend with my mum.


The broadcaster and DJ (33) lives in Belfast. He says:

The best advice my mum ever gave me was ‘go to the hospital'.

I had my tonsils out a couple of years ago and went home to recuperate. I didn't realise that something had gone wrong with the stitches and I wasn't very well at all. Mum came to see me and knew at once something was wrong — she's a nurse — so she packed me off to the hospital.

My mum — Anne — isn't just a nurse, she's a diabetic nurse and did a degree in that a few years ago, which I was very proud of.

One of the best things about her is that she doesn't dole out too much advice. When I moved to Belfast and started out DJing she didn't say anything and let me find my own way.

She likes to try new things and even came to the Glasgowbury festival with me last year — that's where the photo of us was taken.

She does give out relationship advice when it is needed. I tend to listen to her more than I would listen to my friends.

Jim Eastwood

Apprentice star Jim (32) is from Cookstown. He says:

I would say that the best piece of advice my mother, who’s called Nuala, gave me came in the form of a prayer. It’s called the Serenity Prayer and it goes:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I’ve always lived by that and I think it’s relevant to many things.

My mum was a great support to me during my time on the Apprentice, though she always kept my feet on the ground. About a week after I left the Apprentice I was given a nice award for my achievements on the show and I was attending a bit of a do. I checked my phone and found a few missed calls and text messages from my mum.

She had bought some nice new window boxes and wanted me to hurry around to her house to put them up...

This Mother’s Day I won’t get to see my mum until later in the evening, though I’ll have the flowers and chocolates organised before then.

I spend a lot of time over in London, and that’s where she studied, so I’d like to take her back over for a wee trip so that she can visit some of her old stomping grounds.

Emma heatherington

The 35-year-old is a novelist and scriptwriter and lives in Dungannon with her three children, Jordan (15), Jade (10) and Adam (9). She says:

My mum, Geraldine McCrory, taught me a lot in her short life. She died at the age of 36, very suddenly from a heart attack, leaving six children behind, of whom I was the eldest.

At only 15-years-old, this was a devastating blow to me, but my memories of her still live on. Mummy was a vibrant, lively, beautiful woman who was so loving to her children. She was a fantastic singer who loved life and had a smile for everyone.

I think the best advice she gave me was to believe in myself, live life to the full, follow my dreams and aim for the best, but never be afraid to accept that along the way we all make mistakes — everyone is capable of mistakes and it’s never too late to say sorry.

As a mum of three now, I hope I can instill these values in my own children. I hope that I can give them all of the blessings my beautiful mother gave to me.

Noleen adair

The 33-year-old is the director of Northern Ireland breast cancer charity Pretty In Pink and lives in Belfast with her husband Gavin. She says:

My mum has always told me to be my own boss and she has always very keen on us to know the value of things.

I'm the oldest of three and Rose, my mum, and I have always been very close. I was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago and the first time I went through all of the diagnosis and treatment I tried to keep it from her because I didn't want to worry her.

I wouldn't tell her if I was having a scan. Instead I would only let her know what the results were, good or bad. Nowadays, though, I'm really honest with her and it's much better — I don't have to hide anything any more and mum can be there for me as much as she likes. Cancer diagnoses can rip families apart but I make sure that everyone helps out with lifts to the hospital and everyone gets a break.

I'm so proud of my mum and she's really proud of me since I set up Pretty In Pink. She can always be called on to rattle a bucket or just to chat to people and help out when needed.

Eamonn Holmes

The 52-year-old hosts the Sky News breakfast show Sunrise from Monday to Friday and Good Morning on Friday with wife Ruth Langsford. He says:

My mother Josie has always given me good advice and continues to do so.

The best advice she ever gave me was to never hang my fiddle at the door.

It's an old Irish saying that means that if you're in the public eye — a fiddler or performer as such — and you put on a friendly face while doing so, you should stay that way when you go home at night or behind closed doors. It means that you shouldn't have two faces, just one, so if you're going to be nice to some people, you must be nice to everyone.

Belfast Telegraph


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