King's Birthday Honours for people in Clogher Diocese


Two people in Clogher Diocese have been recognised in the King's Birthday Honours. Genevieve Irvine, from the charity SWELL receives the BEM for services to people affected by cancer in Fermanagh while Brigadier John Graham has been made an OBE.

Genevieve Irvine.

Genevieve Irvine who lives just outside Enniskillen, and a member of Rossorry Parish Church, was awarded the BEM for founding the charity, SWELL (Supported We Live Life) and for services to people affected by cancer in County Fermanagh.

“It’s(the award) recognition for the charity and I do feel really honoured and thankful for the person who nominated me,” she said.

This latest award is another highlight of the year for Genevieve. She was awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee champion, invited to the Coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla in Westminster Abbey and during the King and Queen’s visit to Enniskillen, she was invited to represent the charity at Enniskillen Castle.

This positive time in her life is in stark contrast to the dark days she suffered after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer in 2015. It was after having to make long journeys to help with her rehabilitation that she chatted with a friend, who was also diagnosed, about setting up a support service locally. SWELL was born and their premises at Cross Street, Enniskillen is now a beacon for fellow cancer sufferers.

After just opening for a few years, the SWELL centre has now over 500 service users, availing of the many services available five days a week and during three late evenings.

The charity is open not only to those who have been diagnosed with cancer, but also members of their families and carers.

Genevieve is promoting the ethos of her charity by become an advocate for cancer sufferers She is part of a European wide patient advocacy programme and will be travelling to Istanbul in the autumn for a conference

She is very grateful for fundraising efforts for the charity, referring for example to the proceeds of Easter Tree donations in Rossorry Church organised by the Mothers’ Union.

Genevieve and her husband Nigel have three sons, Warwick, Tully and Quillan.

Brigadier John Graham, one of the well-known members of St. Macartin’s Cathedral choir in Enniskillen and also widely known in the community as Deputy Lieutenant for Fermanagh, has been made an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for services to military and public health.

Brigadier Graham is now living back home in his native Enniskillen with his wife, Helen, after a formidable career in military and public health. Following his education at Portora Royal School, he studied medicine at Queen’s University and worked in the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Casualty Department before serving as a doctor in three wars, the Falklands War and both Gulf Wars.

His role in the Falklands War was to run part of the hospital on the SS Canberra. One of his roles was accompanying wounded Argentinian soldiers as they were returned to their native country.

It was while working on SS Canberra that Brigadier Graham met his future wife, Helen, then the ship’s accountant. They married two years later.

After the first Gulf War he was the first doctor to enter Kuwait City where he coordinated the international humanitarian response and re-opened hospitals which had been closed during the occupation. He led the formation of research programmes both in the US and the UK to investigate Gulf veterans’ health concerns which have produced thousands of papers on all aspects of post-conflict health.

He was the medical commander in the Second Gulf War, built the medical brigade which supported the 1st Armoured Division during the warfighting phase and then led the humanitarian response which ensured that the health sector was the only part of the Iraqi civilian infrastructure which did not collapse.

John was invited to join the Research Working Group set up by the White House to direct American research. He played a leading role in developing their programmes and formulating force health promotion policy. He was posted to the British Embassy in Washington DC for three years to promote collaboration between American and British politicians and policy makers.

Returning to Germany he became chief executive of the British Forces Overseas health service which provided care for personnel and their families from Lisbon to Izmir and Stavanger to Naples.

He was awarded the Mitchiner Medal by the Royal College of Surgeons for having done most to promote military medicine and he was appointed Honorary Physician to HM The Queen. He is also an Honorary Steward of Westminster Abbey.

But Brigadier Graham continued to serve his community being elected Chairman of the Board of Brooke House Health and Wellbeing Centre at Colebrooke which provides care for military and police veterans who have suffered as a result of their service for others. He is also President and Honorary Secretary of the Old Portoran Union.

John and Helen have two daughters; Alice married to James in London and Sarah, Belfast.

Brigadier John Graham.