Anniversary service for murdered Teemore headmaster

THE FAMILY of Col George Walter ‘Sandy’ Saunderson, who was murdered by the IRA in Teemore 50 years ago, have spoken of their loss ahead of their father’s anniversary.
Col Saunderson, who was a father-of-seven and headmaster of Earl of Erne Primary School, was shot at 11am on April 10, 1974 while having a cup of coffee in the Teemore school’s kitchen, on what was the last day before the Easter holidays.
Speaking ahead of the 50th anniversary of his death, Col Saunderson’s son Jimmy said his father was “a very special man to many people, who was deeply respected” in many circles in the community.
“But to me he was a special man because of the father he was to me but also to my siblings,” he added.
Mr Saunderson said his father was murdered just as he neared retirement, when he would have been able to finally focus more time on his personal interests and spend time with their mother.
“He was denied that right by fanatics intent on striking fear within a borderland Protestant community and a generation of young people attending the school at that particular point,” he said.
“My Dad’s murder did not accelerate the unification of Ireland, in fact it had the impact of further dividing our people, breeding fear and distrust.
“Ultimately the objective of the terrorists failed, there continues to exist a proud and resilient minority community in Teemore who have made this place their home.”
A service of remembrance and thanksgiving for Col Saunderson’s life will take place at Inishmacsaint Church of Ireland at 2pm this Sunday, April 7th, followed by an act of remembrance at his graveside at Old Derrygonnelly Church graveyard, and refreshments at Derrygonnelly Orange Hall.
“We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of local people, and their desire to remember and honour Dad,” said Mr Saunderson. “So many have remarked that Dad shaped their lives, that he built their character and best prepared them for life’s challenges.
“My Dad’s legacy lives on and it is clear that his name is spoken in homes near and far, he made a huge contribution in this life and I was truly blessed to have him as my Dad.
“This weekend will be tough for our family, but it will also be tough for the cooks who worked at the school at the point he was murdered, the children who attended and on many others from right across the community.
“We will draw together in solidarity, comforting one another and taking strength from God.”

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