DROMORE has bade farewell to one of its leading lights - journalist and one-time Leader reporter, author, local historian and churchman, Mr. Andrew Doloughan.
Andy, as he was affectionately known, died last week at Dromore's Mountvale Private Nursing Home; he was 92 years-old.
In a newspaper career launched at The Leader in 1935 and spanning almost 50 years, Andy at one point worked for the Belfast Telegraph, but he returned to ply his trade in old-school journalism closer to home, first with Banbridge title, The Review, and later as editor of the Banbridge Chronicle, a post he held until his retirement in 1984.
The Dromore man was the last of a generation of a well-known Ballyvicknakelly family and was educated at Ballyvicknakelly Public Elementary School and Banbridge Technical School before entering the printing and newspaper business with the Dromore Leader in 1935.
Although in the early days he was involved in the technical side of the trade, his flair for writing was soon recognised by the editor, the late Mr. Joseph Lindsay, and he became The Leader's main reporter in the early 1940s, often covering many miles by bicycle to obtain reports as he covered courts, council meetings and other events.
Andy was a prolific shorthand writer, favouring the then popular Gregg system, and his prowess earned him the coveted distinction of being named an Associate of the National Gregg Association; for a time he conducted shorthand classes in his home town.
Andy left the Leader in the mid-1950s to take up an appointment in the editorial department of the Belfast Telegraph, later working for The Review, published in Banbridge from 1950 until 1962.
He was then appointed editor of the Banbridge Chronicle, where, as well as directing the editorial department, he continued to work as a reporter, still frequently attending council meetings, court sittings etc., and remained an enthusiastic member of the Mid-Ulster Branch of the National Union of Journalists.
Outside of his job, Andy was a member of the Orange and Black Institutions and was deeply involved in parish work with the Church of Ireland, especially Dromore Cathedral, where he was a diocesan lay reader, having been licensed in St. John's Church, Newcastle in August, 1957.
His services as a lay preacher were much in demand throughout the Dromore diocese, especially during the holiday season.
For many years secretary of the Cathedral Select Vestry, a Sunday School teacher and superintendent and, in the 1940s, producer of the Dromore Cathedral Amateur Dramatic Society - whose performances in town and further afield often attracted audiences over three successive nights - Andy was honoured by parishioners in 1978 for his services to the church.
In more recent years he was also recognised as a local historian, frequently leading groups on tours of historic places in the home town he loved.
Mr. Doloughan suffered a severe blow when his wife, Belle (nee Flanigan) died in May, 2002. Before moving to Mountvale Nursing Home he lived at The Beeches and had previously resided at Barban Hill.
His funeral service was held in Dromore Cathedral last Friday with interment afterwards in the adjoining church.
ANDY LEAVES BEHIND LEGACY OF PROFESSIONALISM - HARRY MCCANDLESS
ANOTHER former Dromore Leader and Morton Newspapers journalist this week paid tribute to the townsman, colleague and indeed mentor he first encountered as a cub reporter almost 70 years ago.
Harry McCandless writes, "On a crisp November morning in 1941 I entered The Leader office, which turned out to be the launchpad of my career in the newspaper business.
"First to greet me was Andy Doloughan, who had already six years behind him in virtually every department of the trade.
"It was production day and he directed me to my very first assignment - hand-folding copies of the paper as the four-page broadsheet rolled off the press.
"That's almost 70 years ago and today I record a debt of gratitude to Andy for all he taught me.
"Like our boss, Joe Lindsay, Andy, who was put in charge of me, could be a hard taskmaster, but his sometimes harsh methods of training me in the rudiments of my chosen career proved well warranted and later stood me in good stead.
"Andy was brought up in the old school of journalism, when accuracy was the watchword. His determination to get his facts right bordered on an obsession, but readers of his day appreciated that side of his literary art.
"As the years passed he would often remind me jokingly that it was he and another Banbridge Chronicle editor, the late John Reid Bambrick, who taught me how to wield the proverbial quill. That is a claim I would not dispute.
"When in 1995 he published his trilogy, 'Our Great Inheritance', an historical record of Dromore Cathedral parish and the town of Dromore, the three books spoke for themselves about the extent of research that went into their production.
"I was privileged to be associated with Andy in turning out such a valuable record of life in the town he loved so well.
"Andy and I were very close friends and journalistic colleagues over a period when the newspaper industry changed beyond recognition. 'AD', as we in the business used to refer to him, has left behind him a legacy of professionalism which the newsgathering fraternity would do well to emulate."