From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 1, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 1, 1978

1 August 2018

KILLYLEAGH — A Killyleagh man’s sweet dreams turned into a horrible nightmare on Friday night when a four-ton Army lorry crashed head-on into his bedroom.

Mr Bertie Gibson had just gone to sleep at his bungalow at Toye when a lorry carrying Territorial soldiers collided with a car on a sharp bend and ended up in his bedroom.

The front wall and corner of the bedroom were completely demolished and several articles of furniture were broken, but fortunately the lorry came to a halt four feet from his bed.

“‘I’ll not repeat what I said at the time, but it was the best alarm clock I’ve ever had,” Mr Gibson said afterwards.

Twenty minutes before the crash Mr Gibson had left his wife, Agnes, in another part of the house and gone to bed.

The front of the lorry was badly damaged and the car was also damaged, although the girl who was driving it escaped unhurt.

“It was an awful experience,” Mrs Gibson said. “When my husband heard the girl and myself screaming he got up very quickly to help.

“I’m sure we will need a new room. The impact was that strong that it even flattened the telephone box outside. What is amazing is that none of the windows smashed, even though the room fell down around them.”

After the crash the shocked couple were told to book themselves into a good hotel at the army’s expense, but they opted to stay in the house.

At 4.30am the soldiers removed the lorry and covered the gaping hole with canvas — but for Mr Gibson it was time to catch 40 winks before getting up for work at 7.30am.

CROSSGAR — A former Crossgar man died on Monday when he was hit by a train near Belfast. Seventy four year-old Mr Robert Donnan, who lived at Killyleagh Street, but now lives at Merville Garden Village near Newtownabbey, was hit by a train near his home as he was walking the Belfast-Larne railway line. One of two dogs he was walking, a black Labrador, was also killed in the accident.

NEWCASTLE — Gone are the days when Newcastle housewives can hang out their weekly wash and nip off for a few hours shopping or sunbathing. If they do the chances are that the lot will have disappeared by the time they get back.

Police are investigating a series of mysterious clothes line thefts in the town during recent weeks. Police say they can’t pin a sex on the culprit for adult and children’s clothes have disappeared. Even expensive bedclothes and sheets are among the missing property.

Apart from ladies’ unmentionables, a quantity of children’s clothes disappeared from a line in the Burrendale Park Road district just before the Twelfth. A short time later a pair of jeans disappeared from a nearby garden.

Then a few nights later an embarrassed housewife reported her smalls missing and at the same time the bigger stuff vanished.

Police suspect that the snatches point to someone who does not have much money and is trying to clothe a family.

KILLOUGH — Killough’s Summer Activities scheme, which has been in progress for the past few weeks, finishes tomorrow with a special prize giving in St Joseph’s Primary School.

More than 90 people have attended the successful scheme which has provided a wide range of activities for members between five and twelve years of age. The scheme has been operated by Mr Kieran Keville and has has been assisted by Mrs Angela Savage.

Among the activities that the children enjoyed were horse-riding, swimming, roller skating and trips to the zoo, Castleward, Newcastle and Ards Arena.

BALLYNAHINCH — The trustees of the Ker Estate in Ballynahinch have come under a scathing attack from the town’s Chamber of Commerce.

The businessmen have accused the estate of dragging its heels in improving its property in the Ballynahinch area and of showing “little concern for the appearance of property.”

“Despite the efforts by the local Chamber of Commerce top make Ballynahinch that little bit more respectable the landlords are content to let the appearance of the town deteriorate slowly but surely,” a Chamber spokesman said.

Behind the anger lies frustration, with the Chamber anxious to have two particular areas of the town improved. Both are owned by the Ker Estate, which the Chamber says is refusing to carry out the improvements.

The areas in question are the town square and a piece of land known as The Green. The town square is especially causing annoyance.

Negotiations have been going on between the Ker Estate, the Chamber and Down Council, but this week the talks were said to have read a dead end.

The traders say the square needs to be resurfaced at a cost of £6,000, but they say no-one will spend this while they have no say in its future.

DOWNPATRICK — Members of Downpatrick and District Road Safety Committee are to press the Department of the Environment to honour a pledge which they made over two years ago.

According to the committee, the Department’s Roads Service branch promised to lay double white lines at the junction of John Street and Irish Street in Downpatrick.

But nothing has yet been done and road safety members say that a “terrible hazard” is created every day by cars parked on the corner and that they are “greatly disturbed” that the DoE has not yet honoured its pledge.

The committee has also expressed strong concern at the speed at which cars travel in upper Saul Street in the town.

The committee secretary, Mr John Bryce, said this week that if something is not done quickly a death will almost certainly occur.

He also said the committee was concerned about pillars at the entrance to Downpatrick Cricket Club.

PORTAFERRY — Portaferry rolled out the red carpet on Sunday to greet transatlantic yachtsman Declan Mackell. The bearded yachtsman stepped ashore to a hero’s welcome at the end of his 5,000-mile single-handed voyage from Canada.

Huge crowds lined Portaferry quay and a flotilla of small boats turned out to accompany Declan on the trip up Strangford Lough.

But even as he stepped ashore to cheers and champagne he announced that he was already thinking of other, even more ambitious ventures.

“The sea is now my life,” he said. “Next spring I am going to cross the Pacific and then, hopefully, I will try a round-the-world trip.”

DUNDRUM — For well over one hundred years Dundrum Regatta has been the highlight of the summer season for the normally peaceful seaside village.

This weekend Dundrum Bay will echo to the sounds of laughter and conviviality as the villagers and their guests live it up at the annual regatta.

Just to get everyone in the right spirit, the Regatta Committee kick off the weekend early with a special Regatta dance on Thursday night. The special guests will be the lovely Sweetheart of Down, Leonara Dobbin, and BBC personality Sean Rafferty, who will both be paying their first visit to the Regatta.

BALLYGOWAN — It will be fun and games all the way in Ballygowan on Saturday with the second annual village festival. Organised by the Ballygowan and District Community Association, the festival programme offers a variety of sports and novelty events, sideshows and stalls.

“We have tried to involve everyone in the village,” said Fiona Walls, secretary of the association.”

KILCOO — The condition of Kilcoo cemetery has been bitterly criticised by a writer in a Belfast newspaper. In a letter to the paper a man, whose grandparents are buried in the cemetery, said he thought it was the “second worst cemetery in the whole of Ireland.” The worst, he said, is Milltown in Belfast.