Portora principal among five locals in honours list

Neil Norton Portora Head Master

HONOUR… Principal of Portora, Neil Morton

FIVE local people are among those honoured in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours’ list.

They include the Enniskillen-born chief officer of a unique cross-border health care body, Bernie McCrory (MBE) and Gretta Farmer (BEM), a founder member of Boho Community Association who told the Herald she accepted her medal on behalf of all volunteers.


“That is why I want to shout it from the roof tops. I have been busy volunteering for years and years, and I’m still at it. It is something quite difficult for people to come out and do something else for nothing, but it’s a wonderful culture to create,” said Mrs Farmer

The other recipients are –  Neil Morton, OBE, the headmaster of Portora; Rosemary Watterson, MBE, Omagh, who is the chief administrative officer of the Western Education and Library Board, (both for services to education), and Matilda Hemhill, British Empire Medal, for her work with the Parkinson’s support branch in Fermanagh.

Bernie McCrory, who is the chief executive of CAWT (Co-operation and Working Together), received her MBE for services to healthcare.

CAWT, a cross-border health and social care partnership, manages a range of cross border health and social care programmes, with EU support.

Mrs McCrory and her husband, Tom, live in Ederney.

She admits to being shocked at being nominated.

“I could not believe it, really. It is very nice, but it’s other people all around me all my life.”


She is the daughter of Dermot and Margaret Corrigan, Enniskillen, she joined the health service when ‘while still fairly young’,

In her time, she was manager in turn of the Tyrone County and Erne hospitals.

CAWT, which is 22 years old this year, was going when she joined it.

Neil Morton, who has been headmaster of Portora for the past 12 years, said simply: “When I celebrate student success in the school, I point out that nothing happens in a vacuum and that individual recognition is bigger than the individual.

“It reflects the importance of supportive others. In my case, the others have included visionary governors, outstanding teaching colleagues and enthusiastic and talented students. Really, the citation should read, ‘Portora’.

Myrtle Hemphill lives in Killadeas, and has been involved in the local Parkinson’s group since her husband, Bertie was diagnosed close to 11 years ago.

“I’m delighted. It was totally unexpected. I was told I was nominated but didn’t expect to win. It’s great for Parkinson’s to be recognised in Fermanagh.

“The group is going very well at the moment, with nearly 100 members and more looking to join.”

A retired district nurse, Gretta Farmer was one of the founding members of Boho Community Association when was formed in 1993.

“We have achieved so much in the past 21 years”, she said this week.

She has worked as a voluntary worker for more than 25 years, and it was during her time working as a District Nursing Sister in West Fermanagh that she recognised the dire need for a rural transport network to service the county. As a result, Rural Lift emerged.

Mrs Farmer lives with her husband, Francis at Leskey, Boho. She is a mother of two daughters.

Rosemary Watterson (MBE) is an ex-teacher and department head in Strabane High School who joined the Western Board in 1987 as an Advisory Teacher for Mathematics and Whole School Development.

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