Saturday 17 February 2018

Wayne's world in the heart of Ballsgrove!

Paddy 'the Duke' Dyas shows off some of his John Wayne collection.
Paddy 'the Duke' Dyas shows off some of his John Wayne collection.

Hubert Murphy

A BALLSGROVE man has developed a personal museum to movie legend John Wayne.

'To hell I have!,' Paddy Dyas joked as he proudly showed off decades of pictures, paintings, videos and keepsakes of the man they called 'The Duke'.

He has dedicated a section of his home to the 'Quiet Man' after following Wayne's career from an early age.

At the age of 16, he had 'Duke' tattooed on his forearm.

And last month, he had his usual yearly Mass said for the film star in the Holy Family Church. 'I have been doing that since the early '80s,' he stated.

At first the priest wouldn't read out John Wayne's name and would just say 'a special intention' but a determined Paddy got his hero's name printed in the weekly bulletin, and after that, John Wayne takes pride of place in the intentions each June 11.

'I've been a fan of John Wayne for more than 50 years. To me, he was the typical cowboy, big and tough.'

Wayne made 153 films and Paddy has seen an awful lot of them, some more than once.

One of his treasures is an LP recorded by the film star in 1973, but he got a big thrill when he met the Duke's children, Marisa and Patrick, on a visit to Dublin.

'I went up on the bus with my wife Valerie to an event for John Ford and I just told her to let me loose because they are my second family!' he said.

Going into the Gresham Hotel, he met Miriam O'Callaghan and told her about his collection, before encountering big John's daughter Marisa. 'I told her that I get the Mass said in Drogheda each year and she was delighted. She said her father would have loved it.'

Paddy is 60 next year and all going well, he'd love to go to America and hit the Wild West.

'I have a lot of pictures of him, but one of the first I spotted was in Mildred's place in the Abbey Centre many years ago. I would have loved it,' he mused.

He'd like to increase his collection of items if possible. 'You never know what people have out there,' he stated.

The Dyas family have grown up with 'John Wayne in the house' and for years his kids thought he was their uncle!

Away from John Wayne, Paddy also loves cycling and supporting West Ham United as he's done for many years.

'I've told the family already. When I go, the entrance music will be 'Isle of Innisfree'. Then a bit of 'Galway Bay' and when they are bringing me out 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'.

Drogheda Independent

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