Rare footage of one of the most daring feats by a Dungannon man on ice has been released by the UTV Archive and Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive.
The short film shows dancers, dogs and even mini-drivers making their way onto the frozen but hazardous Black Lough during the Big Freeze of 1963.
The driver in question was PG McQuaid, a wealthy bookmaker and successful entrepreneur, who was doubtless convinced he was taking no risk at all, a fact confirmed by the man who actually owned the one year old car in question, his eldest son Terry.
According to a newspaper report at the time, McQuaid accepted a £10 bet that he would drive his Mini Minor across the lough.
“Skating was in full swing at the weekend at the Black Lough, Dungannon, and the novelty attracted a large crowd”, went the report. “It was, however, noticeable that the number of skaters was much smaller than in former years, Amongst those participating was 84- year old Mr Bob Benson and it delighted the crowd to see him doing the figure 8 with all his former verve.
“A big exciting attraction was that of Mr. P.G. McQuaid, the local sportsman, who in his Mini Minor motored out to the island and back without mishap.
“Spectators lifted the car bodily over the embankment near the sluice gates and “Honest P.G” as he is known to all and sundry, crossed over amid much excitement and applause. His performance was televised by U.T.V. and shown on the Monday evening programme.”