NewsCommunityVal’s wonderful windows are a Limerick traditionBy Bernie English – December 3, 2018 3107 Val Holmes checking his handiwork at Brown Thomas.Photo: Cian ReinhardtIF THERE is an opposite to the Grinch who stole Christmas, it is Val Holmes.For 44 years, Val has been creating whimsical worlds of wonder to delight generations of children who have stood at the windows of Todds and now Brown Thomas, their eyes aglow, all words lost in a tumble of teddies, lights, fairies and snow scenes.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Val took up work as the store window dresser on December 16, 1974 and that has been his job ever since, the Christmas windows the highlight of his – and his team’s – year.This year will be his last window as he is retiring with every intention of travelling the world.“The year we did all the windows fully animated is the one I remember best,” Val tells the Limerick Post. “That was Christmas, ’79, the Year Of the Child. We usually had one animated window but people thought we were doing especially for that year but that was luck.“There was a great buzz about those windows. People come night and day to look at the Christmas windows because there’s something very special about the windows after dark and they just stand and look for ages”.Working in retail wasn’t originally his idea of an easy life, Val admits.“When I got the job and I was told that I would work Monday to Friday I thought all my birthdays had come together – no Saturdays. I was delighted. And I’ve loved every minute since – you couldn’t do this and not love it”.Val and the team are also responsible for all the other window displays during the year and the in-store displays. In the early days, planning for Christmas and the retail year started in April with a trip to London with the manager and merchandising manager to check out the big stores there for inspiration.Then it was on to Warrington, where many of the props for the coming year are bought, no doubt raising a few eyebrows at customs over hammer-wielding ailing and prancing reindeer.More lately, the travelling salespeople come to Dublin where Val and key members of staff from all of the Brown Thomas stores gather to lay plans for the year’s displays.Currently, the themes for the windows travel between the BT stores each year, with each store pulling their individual fashions and merchandise together in a Winter wonderland on the common theme.With no formal training whatever, Val’s eagle eye misses nothing.“You have to go outside and see what the public are seeing. There might be a mannequin posed the wrong way or something that isn’t quite in the right spot and needs to be moved. You just know when it’s right and when it’s not and you keep at it until it’s right”.Do things ever go wrong?Val admits there have been some bumps in the night.“You might come in and find a load of stuff has fallen down but the public never get to see that. The first job in the morning is to check the windows and the last job at night is to do a sweep and make sure everything is okay”.Another of Val’s favourite times are the sales.“At one stage, when it was Todds, the slogan was to wait for the real sale. And we would pile every window high with sale goods – household, fashion, you name it. They would queue from early morning for the 9am specials – it was like Black Friday in America long before that ever came here”.The father of two sons and a daughter and grandad to four boys and a girl is originally from Hyde Road in Prospect and has delighted in bringing his own family to see his handiwork at Christmas over the years.A spot of ill-health has seen Val off work in recent months but as well as being the man who puts Christmas front and centre in BTs he is is also the store ambassador, meeting and greeting customers during the Christmas period with a tilt of his top hat.“I’m looking forward to coming back for Christmas to do that – everyone knows me from the windows because at one time, there weren’t any blinds and people would wave to you when you were in the window getting a new display ready.“Now, being the ambassador as well is great. One woman asked me ‘are you the real Mr Brown Thomas?’Val is the longest-serving member of staff to hold the same position in the store. “Both my sisters worked here before me and we’re like a big family here in BTs,” he says.“I don’t think of myself as being in charge of windows – I’m part of a great team”.Val clearly has passion for his job, but does he have another passion, the Limerick Post wonders?“Rugby. What else?” Advertisement Print Population of Mid West region increased by more than 3,000 in past year Twitter Unstoppable Sean shows that all things are possible Previous articleWATCH: Andrew Conway believes there is plenty more to comeNext articleWATCH: Dreams snippet – reaction to Nickie’s save against Cork Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. TAGSCommunityFestiveInterviewLimerick City Housing 37 Compulsory Purchase Orders issued as council takes action on derelict sites Facebook Vicky calls for right to die with dignity New parklet changes Catherine Street dining experience RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Linkedin Thefts of catalytic converters on the rise #crimeprevention Email WhatsApp
Police are responding to reports of an active shooter at a Walmart in Mississippi. There are reports of a number of people injured at the store in Southaven, just over the state line and not far from Memphis. Authorities are asking people to avoid the area. Police and emergency crews at on the scene.
Advertisement 92aNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vsj6xvWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E1hu5( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) av5Would you ever consider trying this?😱51zl8Can your students do this? 🌚a5pRoller skating! Powered by Firework Real Madrid captain played his 43rd El Clasico, passing Sanchís, Gento and Xavi, while Barça’s young forward made his debut in the fixture aged just 17Advertisement Advertisement Wednesday’s El Clasico shaped up to be the most equal stand-off in years, and that’s exactly how it played out on the pitch. The 0-0 final score kept both teams neck and neck at the top of the table with almost half the LaLiga Santander season in the books. However, two records were broken in last night’s game, with Sergio Ramos and Ansu Fati the record-breakers. Advertisement Real Madrid captain Ramos became the all-time El Clasico appearance leader, with 43. The Seville native has made almost a half-century of appearances in world football’s biggest game over the last 15 years. Until last night he shared the appearance title with legends such as Manolo Sanchis, Paco Gento (both Real Madrid) and Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona). Real Madrid president Florentino Perez presented him with a commemorative shirt in the dressing room following the match. Wednesday night’s match also saw Lionel Messi inch further up in the all-time appearance rankings. The Argentine number 10, the fixture’s all-time top scorer, played his 42nd Clasico, drawing level with the aforementioned Sanchis, Gento and Xavi. Just one behind Ramos, everything points to these two continuing their duel to see who ultimately sets the record for years to come. Curiously, the match also produced another record at the other end of the experience scale. Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, who came on as a second half substitute for Antoine Griezmann, became the youngest player to appear in El Clasico in the 21st century. At the age of just 17 years and 48 days, Fati made his El Clasico debut even before Bojan Krkic (17 years and 117 days). Advertisement
Peter Mitchell and Sarah HodgeSarah Hodge and Peter Mitchell announced their engagement on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Ind.Sarah attended Fair Haven schools and graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and fine arts from the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass. After graduation, she was an English teacher at L.B. Landry High School, New Orleans, La., through Teach for America.Peter is a graduate of Bishop Verot High School, Fort Myers, Fla. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, Ind. After graduation, he taught English at Sacred Heart College in Tirupattur, India.They graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 2010. Peter works as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Alfonse Cifelli, Superior Court of New Jersey, and Sarah is an associate at the law firm of Podvey, Meanor, Catenacci, Hildner, Cocoziello & Chattman, P.C.The couple will wed on July 21 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, with a reception following at the Morris Inn.