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Eurovision winner quit showbiz to work in Tesco after husband suffered stroke

Eurovision star Niamh Kavanagh has quit fame to work at Tesco after her husband suffered a crippling stroke.

The 53-year-old singer, who won the Eurovision Song Contest with In Your Eyes in 1993 for Ireland, now works as a customer services agent for the supermarket, alongside her 17-year-old son.

She took up the job after her musician husband Paul Megahey had a stroke while she was performing alongside fellow Eurovision stars Paul Harrington, Charlie McGettigan and Linda Martin in 2018.

She recalled the night when she was backstage at the Cork Opera House when one of her teenage sons rang her to say their dad had been taken ill.

Niamh Kavanagh performing in Oslo for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, 17 years after winning for Ireland in 1993

“I rang him thinking that he was looking for a lift home which is quite regular,” she told RTE Radio 1’s Sunday with Miriam, according to RSVPLive.

“It turned out that my husband Paul had had an ischemic stroke. The boys were magnificent, they rose to the occasion in a way that I wasn’t expecting because you’re kind of giving out about them not picking up all their clothes and all of that, and yet when they dealt with their father who, when they went through FAST (a system of identifying stroke symptoms), and they asked the questions [they were magnificent].”

But Niamh was unable to go directly to her husband’s side because she still had to perform.

“I still had to go out and sing Waterloo and Making Your Mind Up after that… that’s the nature of what I do, you don’t always get to choose what you do in that moment.”

Niamh, pictured in 2010, has quit showbiz to support her family while her husband recovers from a stroke
Niamh, pictured in 2010, has quit showbiz to support her family while her husband recovers from a stroke

The “life-changing” stroke caused Paul to lose his ability to speak and he is now in recovery, although he will never regain 100% of his previous abilities.

“He’s doing very well. His speech is still a little hesitant at times but that’s part of who he’s going to be I think,” Niamh told the Irish Sun.

“It has taken a lot of his energy to recover from it and to make himself not to feel self-conscious.

“At times he cannot find the words he needs to say.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic put a temporary stop to live performances, Niamh has been working hard to provide for her family at her local Tesco store.

She works alongside her teenage son but the pair haven’t let slip they’re related because he’s too embarrassed.

Niamh performing her winning song In Your Eyes at Eurovision 1993
Niamh performing her winning song In Your Eyes at Eurovision 1993

“My youngest boy and I got the same kind of job so we were in the same induction day in Tesco which was hilarious,” she joked.

“You know a 17-year-old and his 52-year-old mother, even if you think they’re great you’re sitting there thinking, ‘Oh god it’s so morto’.

“It’s lucky because I’m known as Niamh Kavanagh and he’s known as Megahey, my married name.

“For a little while, people didn’t know he was my son. He wasn’t for telling them.”

But customers have already started recognising her and asking what she’s doing behind the customer service desk.

“I say, ‘well, there isn’t a lot of singing going on’,” she joked to the Irish Times.

“This could go on a lot longer for musicians and artists whose jobs may or may not come back. Where are the outlets for us to do what we do?”

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