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Thomas Devlin’s legacy highlighted by young bursary recipients at awards night

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Thomas Devlin’s legacy highlighted by young bursary recipients at awards night

17 Oct 2018

The eight successful 2018 Thomas Devlin Fund recipients recently received their bursaries at a special event in Belfast. Hosted by comedian Shane Todd, this year’s crop of young talent were congratulated in person by Thomas’ parents Penny holloway and Jim Devlin.


Distributing £10,000 in funding to the successful bursary applicants at the MAC, Penny and Jim have marked their 12th year providing grants which help gifted young people aged 15-19 pursue their dreams of a career or study in music, drama or art.

The bursaries are intended to help towards the often high costs of attending courses, and the associated travel which might otherwise make it difficult for the youths to participate.

The Fund which is managed by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, was set up in memory of Penny and Jim’s son Thomas who died in an unprovoked attack on his way home from buying sweets in 2006.

Thomas was passionately involved in all aspects of the creative arts and the Fund is dedicated to sustaining this enthusiasm in young people with similar interests. His legacy has seen support for dozens of young people in the years since his death.

Speaking about the event, Penny and Jim said: “It is wonderful to meet the bursary recipients in person and to present them with their awards which we hope will help them take a step closer to achieving their creative dreams. Every year has seen a diverse range of young people taking part in a huge array of activities as a result of funding and we look forward to making more bursaries available in 2019.”

In 2018, bursary recipients have undertaken a range of exciting opportunities including Conor Mathers from Newry who attended a three week long course at Mountview Performing Arts School in London.

Conor’s course consisted of thirty hours a week of acting, singing and dancing coaching, as well as workshops and masterclasses with leading professionals.

Conor said: “I want to thank the Thomas Devlin Fund for giving me the opportunity to experience three of the best and most beneficial weeks of my life at a academy like Mountview, which I never could have afforded without the bursary.”

The full list of 2018 bursaries supported the costs of the following activities:

  • Attending a three week long course at Mountview Performing Arts School in London.
  • Participating in the Young Actors’ Programme with the Lir Academy in Dublin.
  • Participating in the Youth Music Theatre UK’s company of Paperboy which will be performed in the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, in July 2018.
  • The costs of travel to auditions for drama school.
  • The costs of performance applications to further study of musical theatre at conservatoire/university courses.
  • The costs of attending a dance course.

We wish all of the 2018 Thomas Devlin Fund Bursary recipients well with their studies and courses!

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