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The mascot famously held aloft by British and Irish Lions rugby skipper Willie John McBride during the triumphant 1974 tour of South
Africa will accompany the great man to Coleraine Inst on Saturday 13 September when he is principal speaker at the Oliver Turkington
Memorial Dinner.

The special charity event is being held to mark 25 years since CAI 1st XV toured Japan and to remember Oliver, the stand-out player on the
trip, who sadly died in 2007 after a long battle with cancer.

Proceeds from the event – which will be compered by Ulster’s leading comedy duo Grimes and McKee – will be split equally between Cancer
Research UK and the school rugby club.

Paul McBride, captain of the 1989 CAI squad in the Far East and son of the Lions legend, said his father was only too willing to bring the
mascot along when asked.

“My dad knew Oliver well and is keen to do all he can to make the evening the biggest possible success,” Paul explained.

“It has been interesting to watch him and the mascot age together over the past 40 years and I suspect it will be a topic of discussion
amongst the guests to decide which of them now looks in better shape.

“What I can say is that both still enjoy a good night out. Also, I don’t think the mascot has ever been to Coleraine so I’m sure it will
be doubly excited about the trip.”

Willie John McBride added: “There was a duty boy appointed every day on tour – every player taking in turn – with duties ranging from
making sure we got on the team bus on time to looking after the mascot.

“We never lost the mascot once in the three and a half months we were in South Africa which, looking back, was quite an achievement itself.”

Barry White, who is co-organising the dinner with fellow Japan tour teammate and current CAI 1st VX coach Richard Beggs and, said he was
thrilled that an item so steeped in rugby history would be there for everyone to see on the night.

“Those images of Willie John McBride leading his team of ‘Invincibles’ onto the field in South Africa with the lion held high above his head
are amongst the most iconic in all of sport,” Barry said.

“Every member of the ‘74 squad was given a replica after the tour was over as a keep sake. But the original mascot which travelled with the
players is the one which Willie John will be bringing with him in September, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of guests wanting to
have their photo taken with it and its illustrious owner.

“It adds another novel element to what I know will be an outstanding evening of fun, camaraderie and, of course, happy memories of Oliver.
It looks like being a sell-out so I would encourage anyone who wants to come along but hasn’t yet purchased tickets to buy theirs as soon
as they can.”

Tickets for the Oliver Turkington Memorial Dinner – priced at £45 each – are now available from the school office, by calling Diane Armstrong
on Tel: 028 7034 4331 or emailing richardbeggs@btinternet.com

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