As wife of the principal of Loughry Agricultural College, Mrs Molly Shannon’s main task at the moment is to organise a Christmas party for the children of the college staff.
Fortunately Mrs Shannon (pictured) is not easily flustered because she has to buy 70 presents for children whose ages range from a few months to 12 years old.
“It’s quite a job to get presents that are different, fun and safe to play with,” Mrs Shannon told me as we chatted over coffee in her beautiful home just inside the grounds of the college.
And as well as buying the presents Mrs Shannon has to make sure that Santa Claus arrives on time, that everyone gets enough to eat and there was plenty of games to keep everyone amused in the true festive spirit.
“Arranging the Christmas party is really my only ‘duty’ as the principal’s wife,” explained Mrs Shannon, “but, of course we are invited to all sorts of functions – prize distributions, dinners, Young Farmers’ Club activities and so on.
“I must say I do enjoy going around the province meeting so many different people.”
A Queen’s graduate in chemistry, Mrs Shannon taught in her home town of Ballyclare before she was married. She was brought up with a farming background and helped around the farm along with the rest of the family.
She is a great advocate of the scientific as well as the practical training in agriculture.
“After all, we are living in a scientific age and farming is certainly no exception when it comes to progress,” she said.
Two years ago Mrs Shannon joined the Cookstown Business and Professional Women’s Club and has served on its committee. But most of her spare time is devoted to her church, First Cookstown Presbyterian.
She loves the church music and is a member of the choir. Her alto voice has been professionally trained and she also plays the piano.
Gardening and flower arrangement are top of the list for Mrs Shannon’s spare time activities.
“We had to start the garden from scratch here and as we are on a hill, a lot of soil had to be brought in,” she point out.