From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 4, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 4, 2001

6 January 2021

NEWCASTLE — A former Newcastle man has been praised for his actions in saving a Boeing 747 from disaster as it flew from London to Nairobi last week.

Captain Bill Hagan, who used to live at Shanslieve Drive and then Glebe House near Maghera, struggled with a crazed passenger who burst into the cockpit of the British Airways jumbo jet in the early hours of Friday.

Mr Hagan (53) left Newcastle when he was 18 to study aeronautical engineering at Queen’s 

University before moving to Oxford when he was 22 to commence his pilot training with British Airways.

A former prefect at Down High School, Mr Hagan, who now lives in Glasgow, played for Ballynahinch Rugby Club and was a member of Newcastle Boys’ Brigade.

The mid-air crisis started when a 27 year-old Kenyan man burst into the cockpit, as the plane cruised at 35,000 feet over Sudan, and flung himself across the plane’s flight control panel.

SNOW — The Arctic chill which engulfed most of Down District last week, paralysed local towns and villages.

Bin collections were cancelled, buses were unable to negotiate their normal routes and taxi companies closed during which would normally be one of their busiest weeks.

But the biggest snow fall to hit Down District for 18 years also encouraged children and the young at heart to go outdoors in search of winter fun.

Traditional snowmen and energetic snowball fights were features of most streets, but on-street ice hockey and tobogganing were also resurrected by those eager to benefit from up to 15 centimetres of snow.

With day time temperatures struggling to reach minus two degrees and night time temperatures falling to minus 13, the first Christmas of the millennium will not be quickly forgotten.

BALLYNAHINCH — A hard-working Ballynahinch nurse was celebrating this week after receiving a well deserved MBE for her services to student health care.

Mrs Nan McBride, from the Old Belfast Road, is one of 70 people in Northern Ireland to be included in the New Year’s Honours.

Mrs McBride works as a nurse at the University Health Service at Queen’s and is totally unaware who nominated her for the award.

For 30 years the popular nurse has been offering a vital health care service to students and staff at the University.

She trained as a nurse in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast from 1964-67 and then qualified as a midwife.

After her training Mrs McBride spent a year in Africa with her husband before coming back to take up her post at Queen’s.

Speaking about her award, Mrs McBride said it was an unexpected but wonderful surprise.

“I really wasn’t expecting to receive the award. I don’t have a clue who nominated me but I would like to thank them anyway. It is nice to know that someone appreciated your work.”

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick could be in line for a new purpose-built fire station within the next five years, it has emerged.

The province’s Fire Authority has this week confirmed it is currently looking for a suitable site to construct the new base which could be built  on the outskirts of the town.

The news emerged in the same week as the Fire Authority submitted a planning application to provide new temporary office accommodation in Downpatrick.

It has earmarked a site adjacent to Down Council’s Building Control Office at the Strangford Road and hopes to have its new premises open within the next few months.

Authority officials hope work on the £50,000 project can start before the end of the financial year with the new premises housing staff responsible for fire stations in Downpatrick, Newcastle, Kilkeel, Ballynahinch and Carryduff. 

KILLYLEAGH — People in Killyleagh will be the first residents in the district to give their views about the future growth of Down District over the next 15 years.

The Bridge Community Centre is the setting for the first in a series of meetings which will begin next Monday night to provide local people with an opportunity to have their input into the new area plan.

A new environmental group plans to raise its 

concerns about the number of new housing developments planned for Killyleagh during the public meeting.

It believes planners must protect the town and ensure it stops falling prey to speculative developers who are buying up land to build new homes which many local people cannot afford.

The Killyleagh Sustainable Development Forum will also claim the number of new developments planned for the town will lead to major traffic and environmental problems. 

The new area plan, which is a blueprint for future industrial, commercial and residential development across the district, is likely to be implemented in 2003.

To help local people formulate their views and provide them with a flavour of what the future blueprint might contain, an Issues Paper has been produced pinpointing matters likely to determine the shape of future development across the district. 

CROSSGAR – A final public meeting will be held in Crossgar next week to discuss predicted planning issues over the next 10 years.

Members of Crossgar Community Association have asked residents to attend the January 9 meeting to discuss a report outlining planning issues which the association hopes will be given attention as part of the Down Council’s development project, Down 2010.

The draft report has been drawn up by the association and will be sent to planning officials who are currently outlining priorities in relation to the 2010 scheme.

The reports reflects the issues which arose at previous community meetings, including efforts to solve the traffic congestion problems in Crossgar as well as a range of environmental issues.

One of the key points in the report is the community association’s desire to protect the village identity of Crossgar through sustainable development.

MOURNES – A councillor has called for a definitive scientific view as to whether the Cryptosporidium bug outbreak at the Silent Valley reservoir is specifically linked to sheep grazing or to all animals grazing in the area.

Mr Frank McDowell said he has asked the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development if testing will be carried out to establish the reasons for the grazing ban at Silent Valley and if it is confined only to the grazing of sheep.

Pointing out that it would “seem to be short sighted” of the DARD to allow the area to become overgrown with a subsequent deterioration in the physical beauty of the area, Mr McDowell said the Silent Valley area has been sustained by the use of sheep grazing.

“Sinn Fein has asked DARD officials if there is flexibility in the case of Silent Valley in order to safeguard future area aid payments,” he explained.

“The loss of income to farmers under the area aid payments could be substantial because of the loss in the acreage of land available for grazing.”

CASTLEWELLAN – Talented pupils from Castlewellan’s Irish language school, Bunsoil Bheanna Boirche, took part in a special carol service in Belfast City Hall last month.

The local children were joined by around 1,000 other children from Irish-speaking schools from throughout the province.

After being greeted by Belfast councillor, Mr Sean McKnight, in the main hall of the City Council building, the pupils, who were accompanied by their teacher, Roisin Nic Dhaibheid, and classroom assistant Anne Mg Uidhir, performed in the carol service.