Wednesday 14 November 2018

Thank you, Grandad, the hero of Irish cinemaLeo Ward's love affair with film has lasted more than half a century, writes his granddaughter Alison O'RiordanROLL IT: Alison O'Riordan with her grandfather Leo Ward, MD of the Ward Anderson Cinema Group, in the IMC Dun Laoghaire. Photo: Tony Gavin

IT WAS because of him that I was the hit of my primary school in March each year. Everyone wanted to attend my birthday party because they knew it would involve a private screening of a film in the Savoy cinema on O'Connell Street, sometimes even before the film was on general release here in Ireland. And then there was the vast amount of buttery popcorn and large cokes supplied on the day to go with the movie.

I am talking about my grandfather, Leo Ward, of the Ward Anderson group. Ward Anderson operates more than half of all the cinema screens in Ireland with 36 cinemas and 220 screens, the largest cinema chain in Ireland.

And today its singleminded leader Leo Ward celebrates his birthday, having devoted over half a century to the celluloid business. What an impressive man to still be fighting fit at 89 years of age. Happy birthday, grandad!

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