Centenary celebration success for Mid and East Antrim

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

The Chair of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Northern Ireland 100 Working Group has heralded the celebrations to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland “a huge success”, with further activities anticipated before the end of 2021.

Made up of six Elected Members, Council’s Northern Ireland 100 Working Group was set up to take forward ideas and proposals to mark and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Northern Ireland.

Chaired by Councillor Cheryl Brownlee, the Group includes the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor William McCaughey and Deputy Mayor Councillor Matthew Armstrong, together with Councillors Danny Donnelly, Gregg McKeen and Keith Turner.

Councillor Brownlee said that the Northern Ireland Centenary celebrations presented the opportunity to recognise all that has been achieved by the citizens of Mid and East Antrim over the past century.

“As well as marking the 100thAnniversary of the creation of Northern Ireland, Council’s Centenary celebrations have provided an opportunity to shine a light on all that is good about Mid and East Antrim and all that has been achieved by its citizens over the past 100 years,” she commented.

“To date, the celebrations have included a busy programme of events, exhibitions and community initiatives, all aimed at showcasing and championing culture, heritage, education, history, future prosperity and more. A further range of exciting activities will be delivered throughout the remainder of this year, in line with the latest Covid-19 guidelines.

Paying tribute to the Council’s Northern Ireland 100 Working Group, Councillor Brownlee continued: “The Working Group has collaborated with Council’s Elected Members, officers and stakeholders to plan and implement a truly inclusive programme of events that delivers something for everyone in the borough, regardless of their background.

“The Centenary celebrations have been a huge success to date, and I have no doubt that the remainder of the programme of activities planned for 2021 will aptly round of what has been a tremendous year of events for the borough.”

To date, ten citizens of the borough have been provided with a unique Centenarian Memento in the form of a certificate and coin from the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim in recognition of reaching their 100th birthday in 2021. 268 babies have been presented with a ‘2021 Baby Born’ centenary certificate and coin.

Over the Centenary weekend three trees were planted in Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena and Council’s Centenary flag was flown above Council’s buildings in the three towns. Centenary floral displays have also been planted in flowerbeds throughout the borough.

Council’s ‘Looking Back to Look Forward: Mid and East Antrim 1921-2021’, meanwhile, was one of only 39 projects in Northern Ireland awarded a grant through the Shared History Fund – a £1million fund distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office. The project has included the commissioning of research and a history exhibition, alongside the creation of three time capsules and range of talks, walking tours and workshops.

Activities planned for the remainder of 2021 include a Teddy Bears Picnic, a Castle Lumiere event at Carrickfergus Castle and a Centenary Fireworks Display. Centenary Stones will also be erected and Centenary Trees planted in towns and villages across the borough.

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