Remembering Helen McClenaghan OBE

Helen McClenaghan speaking at the Speedwell Trust AGM November 2019

Helen McClenaghan, the Chair of the Speedwell Trust charity, the lead partner in the SOFT project, passed away Thursday 4 June, after a short illness.

Vice-Chair of the Speedwell Trust, Eric Rainey said, “The trustees, staff and volunteers of the Speedwell Trust are deeply saddened by the loss of our esteemed Chair, Helen McClenaghan OBE. She was a remarkable lady, passionate about children’s education, an early advocate of shared education in Northern Ireland, generous and compassionate.”

Julianne Fleming, Chair of the SOFT Project Management Committee, said, “All of us in the SOFT partnership were saddened to learn of Helen’s passing. She was a great advocate for our family support project and loved to see the children’s work on display. She will be sorely missed. We offer our sincere condolences to her family and to all involved with the Speedwell Trust.”

Helen, a former teacher, served for many years as the CEO of the Southern Education and Library Board. She is survived by her husband Stephen, daughter Frances, son-in-law Rob and two grandchildren. Helen was a sister to the late Bishop of Derry, Dr James Mehaffy, who pre-deceased her in January 2020.

Helen previously served as Vice-Chair of the CCEA in Northern Ireland and she was on a number of COI welfare and education advisory committees. In July 2008 Helen was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours, for services to education.

Co-Vid-19 Emergency Food Help

These are difficult times for everyone as we self isolate during the #CoVid-19 crisis. Your circumstances may have changed considerably and we all need to support each other to get through this.

Don’t go without, if you are in food need then reach out to our SOFT project partner Vincent’s Cookstown. Follow the instructions in the post, dial the number, press option 3 when requested, leave your contact details and phone number and they will get back to you.

Children’s Commissioner to Attend Event

The Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner, Koulla Yiasouma, will be the keynote speaker at an upcoming event in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown. Organised by the Speedwell Trust, and titled: Best Interest of the Child, it’s a celebration of Shared Education and the SOFT Partnership.

The event will take place on Tuesday 5 November between 2.00-3.30pm. It will be preceded by a buffet-lunch for guests and attendees. Other speakers include Fergus Cooper, Director of the Speedwell Trust, and Julianne Fleming, pre-school Principal and Chair of the SOFT Management Committee. The event is open to all partner organisations, schools and parents of SOFT and to all shared education partnerships, friends of Speedwell, funders, and supporters.

To register for the lunch and event please contact: