Mr. Hall then directed his words towards Dame Mary, as guest speaker. He congratulated her on her most recent award of Companion of Honour bestowed upon her by Her Majesty the Queen. Mr. Hall then thanked Dame Mary for being such a super role model and ambassador for all of us in Northern Ireland. Finally he produced a copy of the Portadown News, dated 29th September 1972, which reported Mary’s triumphant return to Portadown following her success at the Munich Olympics.
Dame Mary then cut a ribbon and unveiled a plaque, declaring the new multi-purpose hall open. To assist her Dame Mary, of her own volition, enlisted the help of P7 pupil Hannah Cochrane, whose photograph Mary had noticed in this week’s Portadown Times. Hannah had been pictured having just qualified for the Northern Ireland cross country finals.
Dame Mary spoke to all of the pupils in a very relaxed manner, regarding her athletics career, her childhood and impressed upon everyone the need for a healthy lifestyle and the need for exercise, regardless of age.
For the large crowd of pupils, parents and friends in attendance, Dame Mary’s visit to Richmount will certainly live long in the memory.