Saturday 20 July 2019

Lifelong neighbours mark 90th birthday

Austin Dawe and Nancy Bogan, neighbours from Fairgreen Row, who both celebrated their 90th birthday on January 10th
Austin Dawe and Nancy Bogan, neighbours from Fairgreen Row, who both celebrated their 90th birthday on January 10th

Olivia Ryan

For almost sixty years, Austin Dawe and Nancy Bogan have lived along the same picturesque terrace at Fairgreen Row, watching the years pass by and their families grow.

Having been born on the same day, January 10th 1929, they celebrated their respective 90th birthdays in the last week, and didn't miss the chance to meet up for the celebrations.

Surrounded by their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, the two newly turned 'nonagenarians' showed no sign of slowing down despite their landmark birthdays.

'I think they should turn those balloons the other way around,' joked Austin, who added that the 'certainly doesn't feel 90!'

Incredibly Austin has continued travelling to Australia and America over the last few years, adding that he is hoping to take up an invitation to go back down under ahead of his 91st birthday.

'I've been to Australia twelve times in the last ten years I think. My daughter lives there, so I love to go out for Christmas especially.'

Both say they lucky to be surrounded by great family, Austin and his wife Charlotte, who sadly passed away over twenty years ago, had seven children, fifteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Like many Dundalk people of his generation, he worked in Clark's Shoe factory until it closed.

Nancy Bogan (nee Agnew) has lived in Fairgreen Row since 1961. Along with her late husband Gerry, they raised four children, and saw their family extend to 11 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

She worked for a time in the old P.J Carrolls factory in Church Street before devoting herself to raising the family.

'Our two families grew up together really, everyone on this street knew each other. It was always a lovely place to live, I wouldn't have wanted to live anywhere else.'

She said that the summer is 'a really lovely time along the street, with lovely fresh winds coming off the bay.'

Her husband Gerry, who sadly passed six years ago loved to watch football on the pitch facing their homes. He'd always say 'I'm away out the front to watch the game,' she recalled.

Austin added: 'Nancy even liked to play a bit of cricket on the green too!'

Their growing families continue to 'keep us young' said Nancy, who added how special it was to witness the new generation being born.

She loves to see them visit, which Austin joked they often do. 'Sometimes there isn't a parking space left on the street with all of Nancy's relatives arriving to visit her!'

Their easy humour together a clear indication of how many years they have spent as neighbours, Nancy added: 'There are several of us on the street around the same age now. I don't know what the secret is...the great view we have here maybe!'

The Argus