From the pages of the Down Recorder, December 6, 1977

From the pages of the Down Recorder, December 6, 1977

6 December 2017

ARDGLASS — An 80lb sturgeon is expected to go on display in an Ardglass supermarket at the weekend. The sturgeon, which was landed at Ardglass harbour, was bought at an auction by Mr Angus Cochrane, who hopes to put it on show.

The sturgeon was caught by a local fishing boat, the Valhalla, skippered by Portavogie man Johnny McClements. It was five feet and six inches long. After it was landed Mr Cochrane bought it for more than £30 and decided that it should go on display.

However, it seems there is an old rule that says that all sturgeons caught must be offered to royalty. Mr Cochrane, on hearing this, offered the fish to the Northern Ireland Office and is currently waiting to hear of the next move.

A spokesman at the Ulster Museum said sturgeons can grow to almost twice the length of the one landed in Ardglass and up to 25 times as heavy.

“It must have been a young sturgeon, but nevertheless it is a rare visitor to local waters,” he said. “Normally sturgeons are found in France, Spain or Russia.”

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick’s new library seems to have proved a smash hit with local schoolchildren.

Latest figures from the South Eastern Education and Library Board show that there’s been a massive upsurge in the number of schoolchildren who are borrowing books since the opening of the new library in August.

It’s not only children the new library is catering for. Teenagers from the technical college across the street can now have use of a special room at lunchtime to hear their favourite hits. Students are allowed to bring their own tapes and these are played on a library recorder.

HILLSBOROUGH — An inquest in Downpatrick heard how an elderly garage owner shot dead a hooded man who was one of three raiders who broke into his Hillsborough filling station in February.

The man, Mr John Palmer, owner of the MI Service Station on the Sprucefield Road, later told police that he was asleep in his house adjoining the garage when he heard the back door being broken down.

He went out into the hall armed with his legally held shotgun and confronted three men who were all masked and armed with cudgels.

“I was particularly terrified because of the assassination attempts on businessmen,” he said. “I could see they were going to rush me, so I quickly put up my shotgun and fired to frighten them.

“One of the men fell and the others ran off along the passageway. I followed them and one of them jumped me and grabbed the shotgun. He knocked me to the ground with a torch and then began kicking me.”

The dead man was hit in the head by the shotgun pellets and his masked body was found with a three-feet long stick lying underneath it.

The coroner said this must have been a “terrifying situation” for Mr Palmer. A verdict of misadventure was returned.

BALLYNAHINCH — Ballynahinch pop group Chaos and local teenagers have helped raise £70 for Northern Ireland Multiple Sclerosis. The money was raised at a dance held recently at the Dunmore Hotel in Killyleagh at which Chaos gave their services for free.

Chaos’ manager, Mr Jim Miskimmin, handed over the money to money to NIMS representatives at the Dunmore Hotel this week.

Chaos — Jim Hamilton (17), Gerald Rice (17), Terry Rice (16) and Dessie Fullam (18) showed that when it comes to lending a helping hand to others they have everything in order.

NEWCASTLE — The Department of Commerce is to investigate the possibility of re-opening the Homa Engineering factory in Newcastle.

This follows a meeting with a deputation consisting of various businessmen from Newcastle and Dundrum and senior officials of the Department.

The deputation called for the 33,000 sq ft factory, which is empty, to be re-opened in units and used by small enterprises.

The news was announced at a public meeting in Newcastle, one of a series which have been held in order to create more jobs in the Newcastle, Dundrum and Castlewellan area.

KILLYLEAGH — There were big smiles from two little Killyleagh girls who know what good neighbourliness is all about. Pamela Hanna, of Grove Gardens, and Oriel Halloran, of Comber Road, were among the prize winners in a recent good neighbour poster competition.

Pamela’s poster won her first prize and Oriel’s took her to third place. Both girls are in the same class at Killyleagh Primary School and received their prizes at a musical evening in the Great Hall at the Downshire Hospital.

BALLYKINLAR — The men of the UDR’s 3rd Battalion were joined by a very special visitor while they were on patrol. Secretary of State Roy Mason literally ped in from a helicopter to watch a search operation in the Mournes, just outside Leitrim.

Accompanied by the battalion’s commanding officer, Lt Col David Pipe, Mr Mason watched the men carry out their search and perform a brief vehicle checkpoint. Afterwards Mr Mason paid tribute to the courage and devotion to duty of members of the Regiment.

Afterwards the Secretary of State went to the Anderson Centre at Ballykinlar where he met a large number of part-time and full-time members of the force.

CARRYDUFF — An open verdict has been returned on a 31 year-old Carryduff housewife, who was killed when her car was involved in an accident at Castlenavan, near Seaforde, in June this year.

Mary Elizabeth Myra Fitzpatrick, of Marlborough Park, had been driving out of the forecourt of Brennan’s garage on the Ballynahinch to Newcastle Road when her car was in collision with an oncoming vehicle.

PORTAFERRY — North Down Harriers were given a boost before their monthly meeting on Saturday morning when they received a ‘stirrup cup’ at Portaferry.

More than 40 huntsmen, under thteleadership of Comber huntsman Hugh Hutchinson, were given a little ‘top’ to help them on their by the management of the Portaferry Hotel.

This is the first time that the hotel has given such a reception since the change in ownership last year.

COMBER — Angry shop owners in Comber have attacked the lack of parking frailties in the town — with the warning that if something is not done quickly the main shopping area will become a “dead centre” as many traders are forced out of business.

According to town centre businessmen, turnover in Comber has slumped as motorists bypass the town to go to nearby Newtownards for their shopping.

The situation has worsened gravely inside the last three weeks with the closure of a car park beside the local cinema. Takings are said to be down by over 20% in that period, with losses for some of the larger shops running into thousands.

BISHOPSCOURT — A convoy of up to ten police vehicles which sped through Saintfield, Crossgar and Downpatrick caused alarm among many local residents. However, there was no cause to panic.

Although the Land Rovers went through the towns with sirens going and lights on, they were only engaged in manoeuvres at Bishopscourt radar station. A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said that the police were a “routine exercise.”

KILKEEL — Kilkeel fisherman Mr Leslie Girvan is to receive a Royal Humane Society award for saving the life of another man at Kilkeel harbour in May.

Mr Girvan, who lives at Abbey Park, was working when a colleague received a severe electric shock from a sand blaster, He fell to the ground with cardiac arrest.

Mr Girvan kicked the ‘live’ handle out of his hand and treated him with cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.