Micky McPhillips: A life well lived behind the lens
IT is often remarked that "a pale of gloom" descends upon an area when news filters through about the sudden and tragic death of someone so popular.
This was the case not just in his native Newtownbutler but also much wider afield where Micky McPhillips was so well known and liked.
Born in August 1966 to Tommy and Peggy at Clontivrin in the parish of Clones, Micky was the youngest of a family of six who made the move five weeks after his birth to Bridge Street in Newtownbutler, where he was to live the remainder of his life.
After primary school, Micky went to St Comghall's (now St Kevin's) in Lisnaskea where he made lifelong friends.
He then attended the 'tech' in Enniskillen where his talent for joinery became clear.
He was to spend many years working for Mulligan Kitchens and then on his own manufacturing kitchens and furniture for homes throughout Fermanagh, Monaghan and Cavan.
In later years Micky went back to college and enrolled on a photo/videography course.
He established McPhillips Digital Media and became the go-to man for many people as well as community and press organisations.
He made many documentaries on both historical and social subjects and became a member of the NUJ, who carried a tribute to him in their monthly newsletter.
Micky was at the heart of all community events in the parish and indeed further afield.
A proud Irishman, he had a great love of our games and our culture - whether it was supporting his local football team or his beloved Fermanagh, wherever they played you would find Micky there.
He was also an active member of the local Comhaltas group and was adept at numerous musical instruments and indeed in encouraging young members in learning how to play them.
He was great friends with the groups Bagatelle and More Power To Your Elbow and members of both attended his committal.
His good friend Liam Reilly from Bagatelle died six weeks later, and Micky was remembered in prayers at his funeral Mass.
Sadly it would appear that Micky found the whole lockdown experience, and the worry of his mother possibly catching Covid from him, just too much to bear and on Saturday morning November 21 last year he took his own life.
On the morning of his funeral his remains were brought back through the village to allow the large crowd who lined the streets to pay their respects.
At his concelebrated Mass, his brother Canon Jimmy referred to the pandemic of suicide afflicting our country and the need for people to talk, in addition to governments addressing the demand for properly-funded services for mental health.
Micky leaves a lasting legacy of which both the family and all who knew him are so proud.
As a tribute to his life, his family and local organisations have organised the Micky Mac Memorial Weekend to take place on August 13-15.
A photographic exhibition will be launched on the Friday evening by his great friend Bobby Hanvey, with full details of the events available on the Facebook page Ray of Hope.
Micky is survived by his mother Peggy, brothers Richie, Eamon, Jimmy and Tony and his sister Cora, as well as his brother-in-law Frank Quigley, sisters-in-law Agnes, Thraise and Siobhan and their families.
A life well lived and fondly remembered by all who knew him, may his gentle soul rest easy and may the green sod of his native parish rest easy upon his breast.
Slán agus beannacht a Mhichil. Ar dheis Dé go raibh ar a anam.