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Claire is better by degrees.

Byline: VICTORIA BONE

COURAGEOUS Claire Gallagher celebrated her university graduation yesterday, six years after she was blinded in the Omagh bomb.

Claire, 21, received her BA honours degree in music from Queen's University, Belfast.

She was surrounded by her proud family and fiance Ryan, to whom she got engaged just six weeks ago. Claire said: "I'm delighted I have got to this stage and it is another important milestone for me.

"There have been difficulties put in my way in life but I haven't let them hinder me."

Claire now plans to spend time travelling before pursuing a career in music therapy, helping other young people to recover from trauma.

Also at yesterday's ceremony, the late Tyrone Gaelic football captain Cormac McAnallen was made Queen's Graduate of the Year.

The sports star, who was from Eglish, Co Tyrone, died suddenly in March from a rare heart condition at the age of 24.

Cormac's older brother Donal accepted the honour on his behalf, while his younger brother Fergus, 22, said: "It's made us realise that a lot of people in the university and beyond did take inspiration from him. Cormac would have been very proud."

Queen's Chancellor, US Senator George Mitchell said: "It is so moving. He was such an outstanding young man and to have had life cut so short was a real loss to the whole society."

CAPTION(S):

KISS: Claire and fiance Ryan Bowes at Queen's University yesterday; PRIZE: Donal McAnallen gets brother Cormac's special award
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2004
Words:248
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