Conor gives himself a big ‘send-off’!

The idea of enjoying your own ‘wake’ is something very few, if any, people get to enjoy, but Manchester musician and Croagh native Conor Moloney enjoyed a great ‘send-off’ last month. Conor was diagnosed with cancer last July and when his illness worsened and doctors feared he only had a short while to live, he started thinking about what was really important to him. Family and friends were at the top of that list, as was his wish to have his final send-off in their company. He didn’t want to miss his own ‘wake’ so last month he held a big shindig, attended by friends and family and called it a celebration of life. The 69 year old said, “I was diagnosed with mesothelioma last July and I was getting to a point over the past months where I thought I know what’s coming, but I like a party and I wanted to be involved in it”. He explained, “I suppose for people with cancer and illnesses like it this sort of thing can be done, you have time to organise to get everyone together so that’s what we did”. Conor, who is a native of Croagh, and his wife Jackie began to put the word out about the party plans and contacted Kevin Fitzpatrick, manager at St. Kentigern’s Irish Club in Fallowfield, to book the club as it was his favourite venue. The idea took root in people’s imaginations and scores of people came out to help Conor ‘celebrate life’ at the party held on Sunday, February 10th. Friends and relatives flew in from all over Ireland to attend the function and more than 60 musician pals were there to provide a backdrop for the afternoon. Among the crowds were Conor’s nine siblings Mary, Ann, Margaret, Tommy, Pat, Tina, Bridie, Bernadette and Kay, and his mother Kay. A few of his fellow members from the Three Graces Classic Car Club also joined him for the day, presenting the well known vintage car enthusiast with a commemorative shield marking his contribution to the club. They said “Every year this shield will be presented in Conor’s name to the club member with the best classic car of the year”. On a day filled with fun, laughter and the best of traditional Irish music-world renowned flautist Mike McGoldrick was also among those playing-there was little sign of the condition Conor has been battling for seven months. His devoted wife Jackie-the pair met in Cardiff but married in Manchester in 1967-said “It has been hard, Conor only got the mesothelioma diagnosis last July. Until then he was fit and healthy but within weeks he was in a wheelchair and his condition deteriorated rapidly”. She added, “He has been working in joinery since the age of 16 when he left Ireland and headed to Birmingham. He had probably been around asbestos the whole time but of course no one knew anything about the dangers then”. Thankfully Conor’s day of celebration was full of smiles, rather than the pain of his condition, and he got the best ‘send off’ he could have hoped for. As the day came to a close, he said “Thanks to everyone for coming along today, it’s a good party and a good send-off”. Conor will also be making a donation to a cancer research charity.