The Emerald Heart Centre in Birmingham has been named after John McNally, the popular former North Midlands referee who died in 2015.
The John McNally Emerald Heart Centre in Yardley is close to St Bernadette’s Primary School where McNally was head teacher for 23 years.
The centre, launched by Birmingham Irish Association, aims to support elderly members of the community who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
McNally dedicated ,more than half of his life to teaching and was Birmingham’s youngest head teacher when he took charge of St Bernadette’s. He was a highly-regarded figure in North Midlands rugby circles and in Birmingham’s Irish community as a board member of the Birmingham Irish Association.
He was a driving force behind the BIA providing support for adults suffering from dementia and was champion of their dementia centre at St Anne’s.
In 2014 McNally was diagnosed with bowel cancer and then with cardiac amyloidosis. He died peacefully in March 2015.
The trustees of BIA wanted to find a way to mark John McNally’s memory and realised that their new centre at Steel Grove was close to the school where he was head teacher. McNally’s sons Anthony and Simon gave their blessing to the centre being named after their father
“We are honoured that Birmingham Irish Association are dedicating a centre within the close community that he served so well. It is a fitting tribute to both his commitment to the city and to his Irish roots,” Anthony McNally said.
“John dedicated over half his life to the city of Birmingham, both personally and professionally, where he was a leading member of the educational community. As an extremely proud Irishman he never forgot his heritage and played an active part within the Birmingham Irish community.”