August 13th, 2010
Celebrities from sport and entertainment support George Best Foundation
Dancing Shoes – The George Best Story is a great musical which tells of the footballer’s colourful and controversial life, from when, as a youngster, he kicked a tennis ball against a gable wall on the Cregagh estate, to days of football stardom with Manchester United and Northern Ireland.
Thanks to the talents of the writers and songwriters, the show is packed with great characters, beautiful songs and Belfast humour.
Former Manchester United legends including Harry Gregg, Alex Stepney, John Fitzpatrick and Norman Whiteside were out in force at the Grand Opera House in Belfast on Saturday 31st July to support the George Best Foundation at the gala event of Dancing Shoes.
Also there was Northern Ireland legend and good friend to George, Pat Jennings.
Malcolm Wagner, one of George’s most loyal friends, attended along with Jim Murphy, son of Jimmy Murphy, who was best known as the scout and trainer for young Manchester United footballers.
Sheena Gibson, daughter of the late great Sir Matt Busby was also there with her daughter Jane, who spoke at George’s memorial service in Manchester in March 2006. The ladies who attended the event were all delighted to see actor Sean Bean at the event.
Ian Woosnam, former Ryder Cup captain and Masters Winner also joined the celebrity line up. Sir Michael Parkinson, a close friend of George was to have been slotmaschinen kostenlos spielen a special guest, but had to withdraw for family reasons. He sent a very personal message which was relayed to the 300 VIP guests.
“I am very sorry that I can’t be in Belfast to pay tribute to George and the excellent work of the foundation that bears his name.
“George was a footballing genius and one of my favorite guests on my TV show. He had his problems, of course, but there was never self-pity or complaints about the cruelty and injustices of life, or anything like that.”
The evening was a resounding success. The show itself had the audience crying with laughter one minute and the next, tears of sadness.
A very poignant scene which portrayed the late Alex Higgins received huge applause from the audience and at the end of each performance leading up to the late snooker star’s funeral, a special tribute was made by Paddy Jenkins, who played Alex.
In the final scene the crowd was on its feet within seconds of actor Aidan O’Neill raising his arm in that familiar way in which George did, to the final words “We’ll remember you this way” It really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was very difficult for Norman and me to watch the musical at times as it was very personal and so emotional, so I had to ‘float off’ somewhere else to keep my emotions in check.
We had 300 guests to socialise with post show and I didn’t particularly want to greet them with red eyes and nose!!
Broadcaster Gerry Kelly together with the ever poular John Linehan( or better known as May McFetridge) hosted the post show auction , which included items like VIP tickets to a Manchester United match at Old Trafford, an official signed Manchester United football with signatures from the 2009 – 2010 squad, a Stephen Doig original piece with George wearing his Northern Ireland strip and a canvas called ‘Reach’ by Irish Indian artist Deepa Mann-Kler.
We are very grateful to everyone who supported the event. All funds raised will be invaluable in helping the foundation promote a healthy lifestyle for young people through football and other sport-based initiatives. Other aspects of our work, from supporting people with drug or alcohol problems to providing funding for research, will also benefit greatly.”