Cookstown High honours past pupil Sir Allen McClay

Thursday 7 September was a special day for Cookstown High School as they honoured former pupil and business leader Sir Allen McClay.

The school paid tribute to its distinguished past pupil by renaming the Lower Hall as the McClay Hall. The focus of the ceremony was on Sir Allen’s values and vision as a leader, entrepreneur and philanthropist. 

When he left Cookstown High School, Sir Allen went on to qualify as a pharmacist in 1953. He founded Galen in 1968 and later Almac Sciences. 

He was a highly respected philanthropist and established the McClay Trust in 1997, which supported cancer research.

Before unveiling the memorial plaque, Lady Heather McClay spoke of her late husband, Sir Allen’s, pride in his Cookstown roots. 

She commented on his love of school and how, although he preferred to stay out of the limelight, he would have been delighted at the recognition. 

In conclusion Headmaster, Mr Montgomery spoke of how Sir Allen demonstrated the school motto 'Character through Knowledge', in his daily life and work. 

He said 

Sir Allen was an inspirational leader, who knew that the only way to build yourself up is to build others up and that before you can build an empire you first have to build a family.

Current pupils of the school provided musical performances before the ceremony was brought to a conclusion in prayer by Rev T Greer, Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors. 

McClay Hall plaque

Published 9 October 2017