The 65-year-old, from Togher in Cork city, spent most of his life working as a senior porter at Cork University Hospital (CUH) before retiring last year. While Mr Sinatra was known for his vocal abilities, Billy had to make do with local events, a choir and the occasional session. However, last night the pensioner became a star.
As part of the Over-60s Cork Talent Contest, which has been running for 34 years, Billy Horgan has finally received the spotlight he deserves. Singing Old Blue Eyes’ classic, My Way, the 65-year-old Corkman took to the stage in Cork’s City Hall last night after winning the 14-person final. He said the achievement, which began with a gentle nudge from his wife, Breda, and ended successfully after 200 people entered the first round earlier this year, had left him “overwhelmed”.
“My wife first mentioned I should enter this 15 years ago, on my 50th birthday. It’s been my biggest ambition. I’m delighted she, my two sons and three daughters, one who flew over from Texas, are here.”
Mr Horgan’s achievement was celebrated by a string of other participants last night. They included Billy Spriggs from Cobh, who at the young-at-heart age of 80 sang Hear My Song, Violetta. Other contestants included Clonakilty girl Noreen Hurley – the baby of the 14 finalists at a mere 60 years of age – who serenaded the audience with a version of the Whitney Houston classic, I Will Always Love You, and storyteller extraordinaire Pat Lynch from Youghal, whose tales were said to have “brought the house down”.
Organiser Paddy O’Brien said the event, sponsored by the Evening Echo and retail management company the Shipton Group, is key to allowing those in their later years to socialise and showcase their talents.
In addition to the socialising involved, the event is expected to have raised in excess of €23,000 for the Irish Heart Foundation.