Over 60's Talent Competition Organiser, Paddy O'Brien, shares a joke with former winner and East Cork Co-ordinator, Charlie McAllister, at the Midleton Park Hotel.

If you are over 60, and can sing, dance, play an instrument or tell a funny story, then the Over 60’s Talent Competition is an opportunity for you to showcase your talents.
The East Cork heats of the 2018 contest were officially launched on Tuesday last. Over the coming weeks, two areas in East Cork will hold audition nights. The first of those is at the Midleton GAA Club on Wednesday 21 February at 8pm and the second is at Brú na Sí in Youghal on Saturday 3 March at 8pm. Anyone interested in performing is asked to come along to either of those heats, whether they hail from the East Cork area or not. The only criteria is that performers must be over 60.
Charlie McAllister won the competition in 2013. He takes over the role as co-ordinator in East Cork this year, a position which was held by Kathleen Woulfe for almost 12 years. Charlie told the East Cork Journal; ‘‘we’ve been operating this in Midleton since 1982. This year, emphasis is on Nonie Lee, who won it in 1988. That was one of the biggest nights ever in Midleton for that heat. Nonie is sadly gone now. At the moment we have seven or eight contestants for this month’s heat, but we have room for a lot more. There’s great satisfaction if you win it, because you make great friends. We go from nursing home to nursing home during the year and perform for the people. There’s great camaraderie. ’’
Paddy O’Brien, the organiser, established this competition back in the 1970’s. A campaigner for the elderly, he set-up the talent show to combat loneliness. The talent show has grown over the past 41 years and, looking ahead to the 42nd year of the Over 60’s Talent Competition, Paddy said; ‘‘I started this off in Cork City and then went out into the county. Thankfully, it’s going exceptionally good. It gives people the opportunity to go on stage and display their talents. The Midleton heat is not confined to Midleton only; anyone from East Cork, or Dungarvan or any part of the country are welcome to take part. We are very busy in Youghal as well. Michéal de Butléir and Fr. Herlihy are organising the Youghal heats. I want to thank them sincerely. We are looking forward to a great night there in March.’’
The initiative has also raised a staggering amount of funds for charity, through ticket sales for the main event. Paddy told the East Cork Journal that he’s delighted that the competition has had such an impact in this way.
‘‘When I started this back in 1977, to combat loneliness, fundraising was out of the question. But now, I have given the Irish Heart Foundation in excess of half a million euro. That’s thanks to the people who support the Over 60’s event. The people who have made the over 60’s what it is today, are people like Charlie. Only for people like him and Kathleen Woulfe – who promote it and help me – we wouldn’t be at the 42nd year.’’
The semi-finals will be held on May 17th, while the grand final will take place in Cork’s City Hall in June, for which tickets will cost just €15. For the winner, there’s the prestigious trophy and a €1,000 cash prize up for grabs. The sponsors of this year’s contest are the Evening Echo, Francis Lennox Hearing Specialists and Liam Ryan Super Valu Group.
For more information, or if you would like to enter the East Cork heats, contact Charlie McAllister – 086 387 1549, Michéal de Butléir on 087 793 4504 or V. Rev. David Herlihy PP. Youghal.

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