CULLYBACKEY man, Ivor McMullan, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours List for 2022.
The Honours List recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary individuals across the United Kingdom.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s now retired Head of Parks, Ivor McMullan, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for public service during Covid-19.
Throughout the pandemic Ivor was involved in management of burials, ensuring they were conducted safely and respectfully in line with restrictions.
He also co-ordinated the community effort to plant and water summer bedding to ensure that colour was brought to the Borough during the most difficult times.
Temporary Life Guard
Meanwhile, Ivor began Council life in Ballymena, working as a temporary Life Guard in the Seven Towers Leisure Centre.
After six months he moved to Ballymoney Leisure Centre, now known as the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre; this was back in 1982.
Ivor then moved back to become Assistant Manager at the Seven Towers Leisure Centre.
Next stop was Limavady Leisure Centre where Ivor was Recreation Manager, spending five very happy years there.
Ivor, who is an Elder at Cullybackey Reformed Presbyterian Church, then moved on to Antrim Council, now Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, where he was an Assistant Director.
He was to have retired just prior to Covid-19 appearing on the scene, but remained in his post throughout, helping out in what ever way he could.
Ivor said it was a “huge shock” for him when the letter came through his letter box telling he had been nominated for the award.
“At first I thought it was a wind-up,” he said. “But when I realised that it was genuine I was over the moon. I certainly was not expecting such a thing to happen to me. I feel very, very honoured.”
A spokesperson from Antrim and Newtownabbey said they were delighted that several other residents of the Borough n the New Year Honours List., including Jonathan Rea MBE, who was awarded an OBE for services to motorcycle racing; Paul Mark Johnston, Head Coach and Project Manager for Monkstown Amateur Boxing Club awarded an MBE for services to sport and the community in County Antrim and Ms Mary Louise McIlwee, Family Caring Centre Manager, who received an MBE for services to mental and physical wellbeing to vulnerable people in County Antrim.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said being recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List is a superb achievement, and congratulated all recipients.
“I would like to especially congratulate those from our Borough and those who contribute to the lives of our residents.
“These prestigious awards demonstrate the hard work and dedication each of the recipients have to their services,” he said.
“This recognitions is something they should be extremely proud of.”