DOWNPATRICK lad Neil Small (21) is heading off to live and work in Australia on September 25th.
But before he went he decided to have one last big fling and invited five bands to the RGU clubrooms to play for Macmillan Cancer Support.
He is one of the many young people who have joined the ranks of others from across Co Down who have flocked to Oz in hope of a better life. With employment prospects not looking at all rosy, Neil decided to take the plunge simply to “get away”.
He said, ‘It will be tough leaving all my fantastic friends and family behind, but life is short and you have to make the best of it while you can. I just felt that things were getting a bit stuck and needed to break the mould and move on. I’m going on my own but know a couple of people over there. I certainly don’t want to fall into the beer scene in Oz.
“My mother was born in Australia so I have an Australian passport and can stay for as long as I like. I’ll be living close to Sydney in a town called Bathhurst. I’ll be looking for some part-time work to start off with until I get on my feet. I may be working there for one year, or even a lot longer if I like it. The eastern side of Australia is a bit affected by the recession, but Perth is still in good shape”.
Neil graduated in Quantity Surveying from the University of Ulster after going from the De La Salle High School to SERC in Downpatrick. He will be looking for a job in the construction industry.
” My going away gig tonight is in memory of Ella McDaniel, my friend from Ardglass who died a short time ago. Ella died from cancer and tonight the proceeds are going to the Macmillan Cancer Support who were vey kind to her and provided much needed support. There are lots of friends here tonight. It will be a wrench to see them all fro the last time, maybe, but it’s just something I have to do.”
Playing on the night were a number of local rock bands who gave their all for the charity cause for the evening. The bands in order of appearing were Bourbon Sky, the Electric Mocassins, Watch Me Explode, Audio Cavalry, Dead ‘Til Friday and The Revival.
The RGU rocked until late and by the end of the night, after all the farewells, and a few tears and hugs, the long 12,000 mile road to Australia was that bit closer.