The widow of DJ Paul McKenna has described the emotional moment her late husband was honored at the annual Northern Ireland Wedding Awards as “the proudest moment”.

aul (46) had been nominated for the award of Wedding DJ of the Year.

However, the Co Down man passed away at the Northern Ireland Hospice earlier this month, on March 16, after a long battle with cancer.

Paul was first diagnosed in June 2020 with cancer of the oesophagus and, after numerous scans and tests, revealed he also had it in his lung.

The father-of-three thought he finally had beaten the disease after undergoing a year of chemotherapy but then came the shattering news that it had returned.

The award Paul was nominated for was won on the night by Banbridge-based DJ Greener (AKA Stephen Greene).

But after receiving the award, Stephen honored his long-time colleague and donated the award to Paul’s wife Emma and his roadie Philip.

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Stephen said that he passed it on to the “legend that is Paul McKenna”.

“I want to say well done to my mate, one of the legends on the circuit,” he said.

“He was well-known in the industry and was at the awards previously, and our families knew each other well.

“My dad actually played at Paul’s wedding and he played at my sister’s wedding,” he added.

“I thought it would be nice for his wife Emma and Philip, his roadie, that all his hard work was honored this way.”

Emma and Philip then came up on stage and accepted the trophy on Paul’s behalf.

Emma told the Belfast Telegraph that she was “overwhelmed” when she heard the award was being donated to her late husband.

“Paul McArdle asked me to attend the awards with him and I wasn’t sure, but I did, and I’m so glad I did, they did a lovely tribute at the start of the awards for him,” she said.

“I just couldn’t believe it when Stephen said he was donating his award to him, I was just overcome with emotion, I couldn’t talk so I went up with Philip White, Paul’s roadie, who has helped me through think and thin .

“It was the proudest moment; he’s passed away not even two weeks and this is just so lovely he’s thought of so well,” Emma added.

“He was the love of my life, we were soul mates, he was incredibly special to me and it’s touching to see how special he was to others as well.”


Emma McKenna with Paul McArdle (left) and Steven Greene (right).

Emma McKenna with Paul McArdle (left) and Steven Greene (right).

Fellow Co Down DJ Paul McCardle – also known as DJ Magiggs – was nominated in the same category for the award and said he was “delighted” to see his colleague honored in such a way.

“We came into this awards ceremony as many, but we left as one big DJ family,” said Paul.

“That was my first awards and to walk away with ‘highly commended’ in the category I was nominated in, I’m absolutely delighted.

“But the real winner on the night was Paul McKenna for his services to the wedding industry,” he added.

“It was just so moving to see Steven Greene hand his award to Paul’s wife Emma, ​​a lovely gesture, we’re not rivals we all support each other so it was just great to see.”

Paul’s death only a matter of weeks ago was a huge loss to the many who knew him as a wedding DJ and through his charity work.

He often fundraised for the Cancer Fund for Children’s respite center in his hometown of Newcastle.

His DJ career took off quite quickly when he first started in his local night club, Central Park in Newcastle, in his early 20s.

He got what he later described as ‘my first big break’ when he secured a residency in the popular The Groovy Train at the M Club in Belfast in 1997.

In 2006 Paul moved to radio as a presenter with 5FM in Newry, part of the Q Radio Network. Initially presenting one night a week, he was soon working four nights and then got the job of breakfast presenter and eventually operations manager.

He left in 2009 and worked freelance for three years with Downtown Radio before joining U105 in 2014 presenting the Sunday afternoon show.

In 2018 he took on the overnight program from midnight until 6am Monday to Thursday, a job he later described as “my dream come true”.


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