Sporting heroes in Derry have been honoured in a new project aimed at revamping the area around the Leafair pitches.
Runner Marty Gallagher, who was killed in a hit-and-run incident several years ago, has joined the likes of the boxer John Duddy, footballer Paddy McCourt and mountaineer Hannah Shiels on the new murals which have been erected around the pitches at Leafair.
The portraits were created after the Leafair Community Association secured funding through the Culture for All scheme, which also allowed the group to create a new allotment space in the area.
In addition, the funding also allowed the group to give a facelift to a generator which had become a focal point for anti-social behaviour.
Peter McDonald, a co-ordinator at the Leafair Community Association, said that they were delighted that young children from the surrounding area helped make such a positive contribution to the project.
“We secured somewhere between £15,000 - £17,000 and we spoke to a number of young people, schools and youth groups in the area, and that’s where the idea of the portraits came from,” he said.
“So we’re delighted that we’ve been able to honour these popular sporting figures, such as young Martin Gallagher, and the portraits look great.
“The Housing Executive and Mickey Doyle in particular were also very helpful to us and we managed to secure a plot of land that we’ve now transformed into an allotment space.
“We’re very excited about that because now people in the area can take ownership of that wee area, and we’re about to start planting in there soon.”
Mr McDonald added that the project had also involved showing young people that graffiti could also be used in a positive way to improve neglected sites.
“With the generator area, well, that had become a target for anti-social behaviour and fallen into a bad state,” he continued.
“So we encouraged the young people to use spray cans in a positive way, so it’s just not scribbling your name on something.”
Pictured above are footballer Paddy McCourt's brothers, Harry and Leroy, at his mural at the Leafair pitches.
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