Heartwarming stories from Derry that made us smile in 2021

2021 has been a difficult year for everyone and many will be happy to see it left behind.

With changing Covid-19 restrictions, pressure on health services, and increasing mental health issues, it’s easy to forget the heartwarming stories we’ve shared this year.

Here’s a look back at some of the MyDerry stories that have made us all proud this year:



Danny Quigley as a young boy with his father Colm

This summer, Danny made his name as a Derry legend by completing an Ironman challenge every day for 10 days, swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running a marathon – 26.2 miles – every day. He took up this daunting challenge in memory of his father on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Since Danny’s challenge he has raised £ 100,000 for local mental health charities and received the Freedom of the City award.



Caoimhe McGlinchey and Dáithí, 3 years old

For mom Caoimhe McGlinchey, taking her non-verbal three-year-old son Dáithí for a haircut can be an extremely stressful situation. However, the barbers at Derry Criss & Co went the extra mile to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

Barber Criss allowed Caoimhe and Dáithí to have the salon to themselves, making Daithí as comfortable as possible with candy and showing him the tools he would use to cut his hair. For Caoimhe, it took the stress out of an otherwise anxious occasion.



Nicole McDermott was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder 5 years ago.

28-year-old Nicole McDermott’s life changed after being diagnosed with FND five years ago. She has now lost her sight and is completely bedridden. Nicole is due to see a specialist in London and her doctor has described her case as “the worst he has ever seen”.

Nicole’s former neighbors have come together to raise money for Nicole’s treatment this Christmas, raising more than £ 20,000 so far.



Teen Derry Roisin Quinn with Ronan Keating

Inspirational teenager Roisin Quinn appeared on television with Children in Need this year as part of their surprise team.

Roisin suffered a stroke at age 14, which meant she had to relearn how to walk and talk instead of enjoying her teenage years at school.

Now Roisin continues to inspire others and tries to recapture some of his old hobbies, like singing.



Wedding guests in Derry, Manchester, Liverpool and New York City watch the bride and groom take to the dance floor.

A Derry family who couldn’t make it to New York City for a wedding decided to use Zoom to fit in with the ceremony and reception.

Wife Derry Jacquie Loughrey did a read and old video of the groom’s grandfather, who sadly passed away before the wedding could take place while singing ‘ When Irish eyes smile ‘was performed during the mother and son dance.



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Amy and her grandmother Mary work on sections of fabric for Amy’s graduation dress

With many graduation ceremonies delayed or canceled, those who have been able to wear their gowns and walk across the stage to receive their degrees feel like it’s more special than before.

Derry’s daughter Amy Mullan was determined to make her graduation special and used her grandmother’s skills as a dressmaker to create her graduation gown to wear at her ceremony.



Roisin Doherty and his black belt in judo

Woman Derry Roisin Doherty achieved a major feat this year by earning her black belt in judo. Roisin Doherty began his judo training 10 years ago as part of a summer program organized by the Destined association, which helps people with intellectual disabilities and promotes social inclusion.

Judo became important to Roisin as she wanted to gain more self-confidence and also wanted to learn self-defense skills.

For more Derry news, visit our new MyDerry site.

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