IRISH Olympic legend, Ronnie Delany will be invited to Strabane post lockdown to unveil a new street sign, 63 years after it was first named in his honour.
A series of chance events recently resulted in Mr Delany, now 85, first learning that Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive were named thus following his gold medal win in the 1,500m at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956.
And those series of events were started when Strabane man Aodhan Harkin posted a picture of Delaney Crescent to social media explaining that it was named in honour of the athletics great.
“A fella called Pearse O’Callaghan then posted the photo on the Irish Athletics page asking if anyone knew there was a street named after Ronnie in Strabane.
“It then turns out, Pearse had been in touch with Ronnie and he had been unaware that Delaney Crescent and Olympic Drive were named in his honour after his win at the Olympics.”
However, in another twist of fate, it transpired that the spelling of Delaney Crescent is wrong, there being an extra ‘e’ compared with Ronnie’s surname.
“Then (Mayor) Michaela Boyle became involved,” Aodhan continued.
“Michaela said there might be a process involved in getting the spelling corrected but that she would have a look at it and maybe invite Ronnie Delany to Strabane to unveil the new sign. And according to Pearse, Ronnie is very much up for that.
“It would be a nice touch. Sixty-three years after he wins his gold medal to bring him to a town where a street is named in his honour, it would be great – especially since he didn’t know about it.”
Mr Harkin added, “Posting the photo, I didn’t expect to get that kind of reaction. It’s unreal.”
Commenting on the plans, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Michaela Boyle said she hopes Ronnie will be able to travel to Strabane for the unveiling.
“In the middle of all the doom and gloom it’s a good news story,” she said.
“I’ve put the proposal to council and they’re going to do a piece of work on it. This will include a new sign with the proper spelling.
“It’s great that Ronnie Delany has found out recently. It’s nice that he’s been made aware of it.
“We hope, God willing with Ronnie being in good health and able to travel that he will take us up on that offer to unveil the sign”.