More than 500 people attended a gala dinner to celebrate the incredible work carried out by Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE throughout her 11 years in office as Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim.
The event, held in the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena, brought together council representatives from Antrim and Newtownabbey, Causeway Coast and Glens, Lisburn and Castlereagh, and Mid and East Antrim.
Friends and family joined the celebrations, along with members from the Armed Forces, voluntary and community groups, schools, cadets and local business community.
The evening showcased the work Mrs Christie has carried out in her illustrious career, particularly highlighting her support for the younger generations within the community.
The unique focus Mrs Christie has brought to the role of Lord-Lieutenant was echoed in all of the speeches delivered throughout Friday evening’s dinner.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Christie said: “This remarkable area and its people are extremely close to my heart.
“It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to serve the citizens of County Antrim as Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant.
“I want to thank the people from all four council areas, who I feel fortunate enough to have worked alongside over the past 11 years.”
Miranda Gordon, former High Sheriff of County Antrim, was part of the steering group which organised the prestigious event.
“Mrs Christie has had the most productive and memorable 11 years in office,” Mrs Gordon said.
“She is an inspiration to everyone and I am very honoured to recognise her incredible tenure before she retires. “She has worked tirelessly in her role and has been a true ambassador for Her Majesty and our area.
“It is a privilege to celebrate Mrs Christie and the outstanding, admirable work she has carried out.”
In 1976, Mrs Christie was awarded the MBE for services to the Government and then, in 2005, she was awarded the OBE for services to education.
In 2017, HM The Queen awarded Mrs Christie the Commander of the Victoria Order, a private honour for services directly to the Royal family.
She received an Honorary Freedom of the Borough from Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council will launch a new Young People and Volunteer Legacy Bursary Scheme in her honour on Wednesday 3 April.
Mrs Christie was appointed as Lord-Lieutenant in 2008 and will retire from the role this June.