NEWCASTLE — A determined bid to maintain Newcastle’s position as the fastest growing tourist resort in the British isles has been promised by a top-level convention of representatives from businesses and clubs in the town.
For the first time ever officials from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and from Down Council have joined together with the townspeople themselves to hammer out plans for the coming season.
Mr Bryan Coburn, the council’s tourist and recreation officer, said: “Newcastle is going to be able to hold its head up to any resort in the British Isles. Now we must let people know that Newcastle is the place to come to.”
He told a packed convention in the Slieve Donard Hotel that this year’s festival will be bigger than ever, with over 50 events already having been confirmed.
Commander Bill Martin, chairman of Newcastle Town Committee, the group behind the convention, said he was confident the support they had received would ensure a successful season in 1977.
Indeed, so confident is he that he has already invited the television programme Nationwide to cover the festival parade, which will be held on July 9 and will mark the beginning of a two-week festival of games and sports.
“It’s time the people in the rest of the UK got a true picture about the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.
Present at the convention, as well as the representatives of the Tourist Board, were delegates from most for the organisations in Newcastle, from the local Road Safety Committee to Newcastle Ladies’ Circle and the Pool League.
KILLYLEAGH — A Killyleagh resident has denied that there is a shortage of recreational facilities for young people in the town.
Mr Eddie Lennon, in response to an article in the Recorder last week, said that if some boys felt there was nothing for them to do they should look at the example set by the other 900 teenagers there.
He said those 900, along with their organisers, will carry on, as they have been doing for a dozen years, with their activities in the Scouts, the youth club, the football club, the local sailing centre and the pigeon club.
Mr Lennon pointed out that there were three Scout troops in the town and that new members were always welcome.
PORTAFERRY — A personal assurance that measures will be taken to overcome the problem of sewage pollution in Portaferry has been given the Stormont Environment Minister, Mr Ray Carter.
Speaking in Portaferry, Mr Carter said he already had meetings with councillors from Ards Borough Council, including the local representative, Mr Brendan McPolin.
He said he had assured councillors his department would carry out tests to determine the best way of dealing with the problem.
He said work would likely get underway in 1978/79. He added that he was “rather concerned” that it had taken so long to get to grips with the problem.
Mr Carter’s assurance was given during a tour of the town. After seeing the waterfront, he went on to visit the new housing development in Shore Street. He said he was very impressed with the way the houses had been built to blend in with the existing character of the area.
“We have got to move in this direction,” he said. “People need accommodation and it has to be of some type the people want.”
DUNDRUM — Mr William Keown, of Dundrum, who leads a fuller life than most people who have full use of all their limbs, has been shortlisted by the Spastic Society of Great Britain for a special achievement award.
A spastic since birth — he was condemned to die at seven months — Mr Keown has had 15 operations to straighten his limbs. His handicap, however, has not held him back. His thriving cottage industry today employs 150 people and has an annual turnover of £40,000.
Currently secretary of Mourne Unionist Association, Mr Keown is to fight for a seat on Down District Council in the May elections.
DOWNPATRICK — Two Downpatrick schoolboys have found an old medallion and are anxious to find out just how much it is worth.
Patrick Gracey, of Mount Crescent, and Eamon Hagen, of Bridge Street, have made several inquiries but established little, except it is certainly very old.
Patrick found the medallion almost two years ago when he was digging in the garden at the home of his grandmother in St Dillon’s Avenue.
He decided to keep it for a few years to increase its value, but now he is more anxious to find out what it is and how much it is worth.
There is writing on one side and a distorted figure on the reverse side. Some of the writing is decipherable, but not all, and this makes it very difficult to establish what it is.
BALLYNAHINCH — Three girls from St Colman’s Secondary School in Ballynahinch won prizes in an essay writing competition organised by the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Therese Kelly, of Drumsnade Road, won the first prize of £10 and her essay has been forwarded to the next stage of the competition for the winners of the Belfast and East Down area.
Rose Anne Hill, of Hillcrest Drive, won £7 for coming second and Michelle Gallagher, of Windmill Gardens, won £3 for coming third.
KILLOUGH — Members of the Killough branch of the SDLP have given a cautious welcome to the latest Housing Executive plans for the village.
At the monthly branch meeting a spokesman for the Executive confirmed that work would be starting on 13 new dwellings in Castle Street in September. He also said that the Executive had plans for a further ten houses in 1978, with another 30 to follow in the next five years.
A spokesman for the branch said this was “welcome news indeed,” but he added: “Members of the branch were sceptical, particularly with the Housing Executive’s past record of house building in Killough.”
At the same meeting, members expressed their concern about the “filthy condition” of Rossglass beach. They claimed the beach was never cleaned by the council’s cleansing department and was covered in unsightly plastic bags.
CASTLEWELLAN — Educating people about the cancer risk caused by smoking cigarettes is one of the major activities of the NI Cancer Foundation, members of Annsborough-Castlewellan Combat Cancer Group were told.
At their annual meeting in Castlewellan Health Clinic, members heard guest speaker Michael Wood, director of the Foundation, outline its activities.
Members heard that another campaign striking a blow against the tobacco industry, which had a monopoly on sporting sponsorship in spite of the ill effects of smoking on physical health, is soon to be launched.
Mr Woods praised the work of branches, such as Annsborough-Castlewellan, in helping to fight against cancer through various fund-raising activities.
LOUGHINISLAND — Extensive damage was caused to the living room of Loughinisland Post Office after fire had broken out on Monday morning.
Donwpatrick firemen raced to the scene and confined the damage to one room. The postmistress and her son live in the Post Office.
CARRYDUFF — The chairman of the Carryduff branch of the Vanguard Unionist Party, Mr John Moore, has asked the Housing Executive for an explanation about the allocation of houses in the Carryduff area.
Mr Moore said he had received numerous complaints from local people who feel they are not getting a fair deal from the Executive.
He said applicants from a considerable distance away were being allocated houses, while in a number of cases local people were being ignored.