From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 11, 2011

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 11, 2011

13 January 2021

CASTLEWELLAN – An Ulsterbus driver is being hailed a hero after he managed to stop his vehicle crashing into a field on the outskirts of Castlewellan yesterday morning.

The bus, which was packed with students of St Malachy’s High School, was involved in an accident with a Peugeot car shortly after 9.15am.

The accident happened outside English’s pub on the ice-covered Clanvaraghan Road and members of the emergency services say had it not been for the alert actions of the driver, the bus could have toppled over the verge into a field seven feet below.

One student and the woman driver of the Peugeot car were taken to the Downe Hospital for treatment and their condition has been described as stable.

Within minutes of the crash, paramedics and a fleet of ambulances from hospitals in Downpatrick and Belfast raced to the scene of the accident as a major rescue operation swung into action.

Road conditions were still so bad that members of the rescue services had difficulty reaching the scene, with one ambulance almost involved in an accident after it skidded on the treacherous surface. The schoolchildren were examined by a doctor before being placed on another bus and taken to school in Castlewellan.

NEWCASTLE – Education officials are ironing out the final details to ensure the merger of two Newcastle primary schools goes ahead this September.

The merger of St Mary’s Boys’ and Girls’ Primary Schools was recommended by the Department of Education late last year to stave declining enrolments at both schools.

An architect has now been appointed by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools to design accommodation for a permanent extension to cope with increased numbers at the amalgamated boys’ site at Beechfield Park.

The CCMS’s head of school planning and development, Mr Dermott Mullan, said hopes are high that up to half a million pounds required for the extension at the boys’ site will be made available when the Department of Education announces its new capital programme next month.

KILLYLEAGH – Members of a Killyleagh family had to push an ambulance which broke down while transporting an ill relative to hospital.

The frightening emergency arose over the Christmas holiday period after the vehicle arrived in the town to transport the man to the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick.

The patient had been placed in the rear of the ambulance but paramedics couldn’t get the engine to start and had to radio for a second vehicle to take the patient to hospital.

However, relatives of the man who had planned to follow the ambulance to Downpatrick, got out of their car and helped push the vehicle to jump start it.

The ambulance started and the man was taken for treatment to the hospital’s accident and emergency department.

DERRYBOY – Work is currently underway on a new extension at Derryboy Primary School as part of a drive to rid schools of mobile classrooms.

Funded by the South Eastern Education and Library Board, the school will benefit from the £290,000 extension, which will hopefully be fully functional by Easter.

The new development will see the final lesson taught in the schools mobile classroom within the next few months.

Foundations for the new extension have already been dug and building work is due to begin by the end of the month.

The extension is to be used as a new hall which means the old school hall an be renovated into an extra classroom.

CROSSGAR – Police have launched a major appeal after an armed robbery at the Northern Bank in Crossgar last Friday morning.

Two masked men, both armed with handguns, burst into the bank at the square just before 11am and order customers and staff not to move.

The men are understood to have jumped over the counter and looted a number of tills before running out of the bank and making their escape on foot.

Police investigating the incident have confirmed the two men spent less than a minute inside the 

bank and although staff 

activated a panic alarm, 

the robbers had fled the scene by the time police arrived. 

BALLYNAHINCH – Roads Service officials have this week been accused of failing to honour a promise to provide a new pedestrian crossing in Ballynahinch.

The commitment was given last September when Roads Service officials undertook to provide a new crossing at Windmill Street to improve safety levels in the area.

Almost four months later work is only now starting on the project and local councillor Francis Casement has hit out at Roads Service officials for what he labelled a “totally unacceptable delay.”

PORTAFERRY – A Portaferry woman has been honoured by the RNLI for the voluntary fundraising work she has carried out for the area’s lifeboat station.

Mrs Eveleigh Brownlow, president of Portaferry Lifeboat Guild, has been awarded a gold badge for her work.

Mrs Brownlow said she was “very humbled and privileged” to have been awarded the gold badge.

A founder member of the Portaferry Guild in 1979, Mrs Brownlow became president several years ago and was awarded the badge for her long service and continued fundraising effort for the local lifeboat and it crew members.

“The Portaferry Guild works very hard and this badge pays tribute to all our members and the hard work they do,” she explained.

“I feel extremely honoured and very humbled by this news. Portaferry is a wonderful station and its crew is really amazing,” she added.

CONEY ISLAND – New name signs are to be erected at the entrance to Coney Island outside Ardglass thanks to none other than international singing star Van Morrison.

Down Council agreed to erect the new signs in its corporate colours in the village which has a been made famous the world over by Morrison.

He penned a song about the area to recall his childhood memories of car trips with his mother along the Co Down coast to places like Tyrella, Coney Island and Shrigley.

Local councillor, Mr Dermot Curran, said he is delighted the new signs are to be erected in the picturesque hamlet.

DOWNPATRICK – Downpatrick-born cameraman, Eugene Campbell, has scored another major success following the filming of a documentary involving Prince William.

Eugene, who is now based in England, has built a solid reputation as one of the United Kingdom’s top cameramen, following projects in Kosovo and during the Gulf War.

His most recent ITV programme, following the Prince’s adventures in Chile during an Operation Raleigh charity trip, will be shown on Sunday, January 14.

The 50-minute show, ‘Prince William in Chile’, was made up of six hours of video footage shot by Eugene during the working trip and includes scenes with the Prince carrying heavy logs and cleaning the toilet.

Although Eugene is unable to talk about details regarding the project, he said thing went “extremely well”.

“This was one of the difficult projects I have ever worked on simply because it took 30 hours, and four flights, to get to our location in Southern Chile,” he said. “It was also very cold”.

BALLYGALGET – A special dinner commemorating the 25th anniversary of Ballygalget GAC’s first Ulster Senior Hurling Championship victory was held just before Christmas.

More than 150 people, including players, guests and club members were treated to a night of craic and vivid memories. The M.C. for the evening was Paddy Braniff, club secretary.

Among the special guests was former Antrim and Ulster hurling star Eddie Donnelly, who was a member of the Ballycastle side beaten by Ballygalget at Glenariffe on December 14, 1975. There also was yours truly to recall the report on the game, as well Ulster Council delegate Gerry Mullan and former county chairman Kevin Bell.

The biggest cheer of the night was for Hugh McPoland, who refereed the final. He recounted some of the happenings in the game, including his dismissal of the late Charlie Coulter for leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission.