BY AINE MCAULEY
NORMAN Irwin was the very special guest at a party in Coleraine on Saturday.
The event was held in his honour at the Bushtown Hotel to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Norman, a father of four, grandfather of five and great-grandfather of six was joined by 120 friends and family members who helped him to mark the momentous occasion.
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Brenda Chivers; the Lord Lieutenant of County Londonderry Alison Millar and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Lorraine Young were also on hand to offer their good wishes.
Speaking afterwards, the Mayor said: “It was an honour to meet Norman and help him to celebrate his centenary birthday. It was a very special day and I wish him continued health and happiness.
“I hope he enjoyed his surprise party which was a very fitting way to mark such a significant milestone.”
Prior to the break out of World War Two, Norman served an engineering apprenticeship in Moore’s Foundry in Coleraine.
He joined the Coleraine Battery and after being posted to Aberdeen for a year he went on to serve in the Middle East as part of the Royal Engineers.
After surviving the war, he returned to Coleraine where he began his new working life at Benger’s factory site (now Kerry Foods).
It eventually changed hands to Pickering’s Foods, a subsidiary of Heinz, where Norman undertook the role of Engineering Manager until his retirement. He was highly regarded among his colleagues for his sector knowledge and expertise.
Earlier this year, Norman donated a clock to Garvagh Museum which was a first type of time recording equipment for factory workers dating back to the 1940s.
In 1989, as a member of The Old Comrades Association of the 6th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve), Norman received the Freedom of the Borough from Coleraine Borough Council.