1761 Irish MP Richard Nugent fought a duel with Captain George Reilly on this day in 1761. Nugent was only a teenager but had adopted his post from his father, the 6th Earl of Westmeath (although he was only 17, and under-age). Unfortunately the young politician consumed too much alcohol at a function at the fashionable Marlborough Hall. He accosted a female guest and was challenged to a duel by her male companion Captain Reilly. Reilly challenged him to a duel and the two crossed swords resulting in a fatal injury to Nugent.
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1863 Henry Ford was born on this day in Michigan in 1863. He was the first child of William and Mary Ford. William Ford had travelled to America from Ireland in 1846, and met and married Mary. They owned a farm, which William hoped Henry would one day take over. However, Henry hated farm work and showed a flair for engineering and business. He grew up to create the first mass produced automobile, and changed the world forever. The Ford car company is still one of the leading companies in the world.
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2002 George Best entered hospital in King’s College Hospital in London on this day in 2002 in preparation for a liver transplant. Northern Ireland’s favourite son had spent years damaging his body with excessive alcohol use. His liver transplant was a success but was only a way of delaying the inevitable and Best died three years later.
He is considered by many experts to be amongst the most gifted footballers of all time. He won the European Cup and English First Division with Manchester United in the most exciting team of its generation. When the Manchester United scout first saw Best play as a teenage boy in Belfast he phoned his manager Matt Busby and told him: “I think I’ve found you a genius!”
Best was a hugely popular figure in the sport and was the first real ‘celebrity footballer’. His good looks, charm and star status led to him dating a string of glamorous women including several Miss Worlds.
Best was considerably charming and was always happen to speak openly and honestly about his own flaws. Here are a couple of his best quotes:
“I used to go missing a lot… Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World.”
“It’s a pleasure to be standing here. It’s a pleasure to be standing up.”