New duo take helm at Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Dessie Blackadder


Dessie Blackadder

Councillor Eugene Reid has beens elected as Acting President of Ballymena Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Chamber also elected Leigh Heggarty, of Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort as Acting Vice President.

Outgoing President Robin Cherry MBE stated that ‘these are exceptional times and as a committee we have decided to place Eugene and Leigh in post and our decision can be ratified at an AGM when it is safe to organise such an event’.

Robin added: “It has been an absolute privilege to act as President of the Chamber for the past two years.

“Prior to the current crisis Ballymena showed that it had a strong diverse economy and as a Chamber we worked closely with all our partners to ensure the Ballymena area was seen as a great place to do business.”

Robin acknowledged that the area would face many challenges in the coming months but stressed his confidence in the two new faces at the helm of Chamber.


“I know that in Eugene and Leigh we have two very capable and committed people who will work hard for businesses and our local community.

“I look forward to the time when this crisis has passed and we can once again get together again both as families and as a business community’.

Councillor Reid said: “It is an honour and a privilege not only to take on the role as President of such an important organisation but also a privilege to be able to continue working for all of our businesses to ensure that Ballymena is at the forefront of the recovery process and that our economy gets back on track as one of the most vibrant in Northern Ireland.”

Eugene has a strong background in business having been a manager in a large multi-national pharmaceutical company for many years.

He said: “I was born and bred in Ballymena and I have many personal and business connections in the town.

“I am passionate about business and in particular business in the Ballymena area.

“I can assure our businesses and the local community that I will work tirelessly with our partners during my term as President.

“As a Chamber it is our role to provide whatever support we can to business and to ensure that we see a strong and significant bounce back in the local economy.”

Leigh Heggarty is Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort’s Business Development Manager.

Leigh commented: “I am delighted and honoured to take on this role within Chamber. As a Resort we realise that it is important that we have a vibrant local economy on all levels where we can offer businesses, members of the community and visitors a place where they can grow their business, live safely and socialise.

“The next period will be a challenge but as a Chamber we are looking forward to taking on those challenges and I know that our local business community is filled with hard working and innovative entrepreneurs who will be up for the challenges ahead.”

Tom Wiggins, Chamber’s Business Development Officer paid tribute to outgoing President, Robin Cherry.

He said: “Robin is a remarkable man who runs a successful business as well as sitting on Council and taking an active role in several organisations across the Province.


“Robin has given up his time willingly to do whatever he could to ensure Chamber supported our local businesses.

“ I am glad to say that Robin will remain as a Management Committee member and that Eugene, Leigh and the rest of the Management Committee will continue to have the benefit of Robin’s knowledge and expertise and of course his array of jokes which always help cheer up the most difficult of meetings.”

Tom noted that both Eugene and Leigh have been members of the Management Committee for some time and have already shown that they are eager to do whatever they can to sustain and promote business in the local area.

“I am looking forward to working with our new officials and cannot wait for normality to return when we can hold our AGM in safety and be able to meet our members in person.

“ In the meantime I hope everyone stays safe and wish all our businesses good fortune as they begin to re-open and get back to some type of normality.”

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