Celebrations as Poraferry and Seaforde pick up major prizes

Celebrations as Poraferry and Seaforde pick up major prizes

2 November 2011

PORTAFERRY and Seaforde had their community spirit rewarded this week, scooping major prizes in the Calor Village of the Year competition.

Portaferry was the big winner - clinching the title of Calor Large Village of the Year 2011 and sharing a prize fund worth £12,000 with Ballintoy in County Antrim which won the Small Village prize.

Seaforde won the Building Community Life category, beating off stiff competition from villages across Northern Ireland, and winning a cash prize of £1,000.

Portaferry also received an additional cash prize of £1,000 as the winner of the Older People category, in recognition of the sterling work being done with their senior citizens.

The awards were made at a ceremony at the Slieve Donard Hotel, hosted by television personality Tina Campbell.

Portaferry councillor, Joe Boyle, said he was delighted the determined and caring efforts of local residents had been recognised, following category success in the same awards in 2009 and 2010.

"There are many organisations in Portaferry who are consistently working extremely hard, sometimes out of the limelight, quietly, but effectively, with the common vein being that they want to promote Portaferry as an even better place to live, to work and to do business," he said.

"It is, now more than ever, important to remain focused on the current job in hand, even within these difficult times.

"It can sometimes be easier to sit back and do nothing; to do this, however, produces communities with no real heart, no real sense of purpose and above all no real community pride or success."

Margaret McDowell-Wilcox, chairwoman of the Seaforde and District Community Association, said they were delighted with the success achieved on their first entry to the competition.

"We have very limited resources and have a very small committee," she said of the group, which first came together two years ago.

"It is not just young families living here, but senior citizens, who can be quite isolated, so we felt we needed to do something."

Some of the biggest successes of the group have involved the fairs they have held at Halloween, Christmas and Easter.

"We are trying to encourage local producers to come along," said Ms. McDowell-Wilcox. "Farmers, for example, have the opportunity to meet up and do a bit of shopping.

"The community has been so supportive, 100 per cent, especially Lady Anthea Forde."

Other events run by the group include music events for Senior Citizens, social dance evenings and children's drama classes. Every Wednesday a dance class also runs in the AYC hall.