independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Hook to be a driving force at JFK event

Chef Clodagh McKenna and broadcaster George Hook, centre, say goodbye to a group of 20 volunteers from the Haven
charity, bound for Haiti at Dublin Airport. Johnny Ryan, left, from Tipperary, and Paudie Halpin, from Waterford, are part of
a team helping to reconstruct buildings destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Haven founder and chairman Leslie Buckley said the island of Ile a Vache would benefit immensely from the great effort of the volunteers.
Chef Clodagh McKenna and broadcaster George Hook, centre, say goodbye to a group of 20 volunteers from the Haven charity, bound for Haiti at Dublin Airport. Johnny Ryan, left, from Tipperary, and Paudie Halpin, from Waterford, are part of a team helping to reconstruct buildings destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Haven founder and chairman Leslie Buckley said the island of Ile a Vache would benefit immensely from the great effort of the volunteers.

HE was refused a chance to get involved 50 years ago, but broadcaster George Hook will lead the commemoration celebrations for the late US president John F Kennedy's historic visit here.

The Newstalk radio host was 21 when JFK travelled to the country of his ancestors in June, 1963.

"The father of one of my friends was responsible for supplying the cars for the Kennedy entourage and he asked all his mates to be drivers," he recalled.

"There was a rumour going around that I was one of the drivers, but I wasn't good enough, so I wasn't allowed," he told the Irish Independent.

Hook was present for JFK's famous speech in New Ross, Co Wexford. He has now been enlisted, alongside retired RTE newscaster Anne Doyle, as master of ceremonies for 'The Homecoming' official event in New Ross, on June 22.

He will also be among those at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC next month, for the lighting of The Gathering Torch from the JFK Eternal Flame, and will accompany it as it journeys to Ireland.

"I was in New Ross . . . Obama is a transition year student compared to Kennedy as a speaker," he said.

Irish Independent

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