Local hero braces for second lockdown

By Rebecca McGirr

As the new four week lockdown measures come into place, restaurant owner Colin McMenamin braces for a second lockdown.

Over the course of the first lockdown he and his wife Ann Marie, who own the popular Castlederg restaurant Red Pepper, delivered 13,000 meals to the local area.

Colin says that “it would have stopped,” without the help from the local GAA club who volunteered to deliver the meals.

He prepared all the meals by himself due to social distancing measures.

“We were doing 250 to 300 meals a day,” he says. “It was like doing a wedding every day.”

Meals were delivered to people in Castlederg, Aghyaran, Spamount and Drumquin.

He says, “There was a lot of older people who relied on the service. There was single mothers who got it, mothers of disabled children, anyone who was really afraid to go out.”

 “We got a lot of donations as my wife Ann Marie set up a Go Fund me page which many people donated to.”

“There was a local lottery winner who give two huge donations, which kept us going for another two weeks.”

Although he says that he would not be able to do the same initiative over the next four weeks. Himself, and Ann Marie have come up with other ways to help with the morale of the people in their community.

This includes doing online cooking demonstrations. He explained that people can buy all the raw ingredients from the restaurant at 10 pound a pack and then watch the cooking demonstration online and cook along with him.

“They are very popular,” he says. “We have 100 ordered to go out tomorrow.”

I felt “it was a great way to teach people who are missing their restaurant food how to cook what they like to buy.”