Tuesday 27 September 2016

Gracious Tommy picks up achievement award



Published 28/11/2012 | 14:08

HE HAS been a musician and a businessman all his life, so when he was announced as the Lifetime Achievement Award winner at Saturday's Chamber Awards, the reaction was as you'd expect – gracious and deserving.

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Tommy Leddy is probably the most famous man in Drogheda, simply because he has immersed himself in all aspects of its soul, intent on always promoting it.

Tommy was part of the Medieval Drogheda group in the 1980s that introduced a 'Welcome Home' week, bringing in 500 visitors from the UK. Next year the rest of the country will jump on that idea with The Gathering.

And he was first again with the 'six hour super sale' idea. In 1969, he did his first one in the Sound Shop from 6 p.m. ' til midnight. The big brands would follow years later.

'I came up with some mad ideas,' Tommy remarked. The thing is, most of them worked.

Also part of the team that helped secure the Highlanes Gallery, Tommy is now synonymous with the TLT, one of the best theatre locations in Ireland.

His love of music began as a ten-year-old when his father handed him an accordion and told him to learn it. The rest is history.

He went on to play with the Sunray ceili band and moved to a group that would become The Toppers showband.

'We started off playing ceili and old time and then rock n' roll came and we switched completely,' he said.

He also moved from accordion to double bass and, as the years passed, picked up the bass guitar.

'I got it in 1958 and it cost eleven weeks wages at the time. I still have it!' he said.

The Chancellors would become his next love and away from the stage, he set up the Sound Shop in 1968, going on to become a household name nationally.

'I got interested in the traders then and Paddy Dwyer and Hubert Tully would head out at night to put posters up poles around town.'

He also had a deep involvement with the Drogheda Panto from the early '50s and has developed that familiar catchphrase ' bye, bye, now.'

But next up for the award winner is a Toppers reunion, along with a number of other bands, when they perform 'Play it again Paddy' at the TLT on December 12 when proceeds go to the Alzheimer's group and Pallative Care.

A full house that night would be another golden moment for him.

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