From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 9, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 9, 1979

9 January 2019

SNOW — Heavy snow blizzards lashed the locality this week and weathermen say that yet more snow could fall before week is over.

Downpatrick and coastal areas from Strangford through to Newcastle escaped the worst of the snow, but Carryduff, Comber, Ballynahinch, Dromara, Saintfield and Ballygowan were not so lucky.

However, many parts of the district, including Downpatrick, were thrown into darkness when a transformer in Killyleagh caught fire. An engineer explained that a conductor on a transformer, which had probably been smouldering due to a layer of snow or ice, caught fire.

Carryduff, the highest point between Belfast and the Mourne mountains, had falls of up to six inches and drifts were reported as deep as one and two feet in some areas.

Ballynahinch had several inches fall inside an hour and this worsened as snow continued to fall. Dromara got it bad yet again and Comber reported several inches.

The Department of the Environment’s snow ploughs were in use at Carryduff, Ballynahinch and Dromara, and gritting machines were needed on many local roads.

In Downpatrick and coastal districts there was sleet and heavy rain — and roads were made treacherous when this turned to ice yesterday morning. There was a spate of minor accidents as cars slithered through the snow and ice.

Roads are being gritted by the DOE, but owing to decreasing fuel and salt they have only been treating priority roads.

CROSSGAR — Crossgar is taking part in an appeal organised by the BBC programme Blue Peter, which will help provide bicycles for villages in Africa.

The campaign, which involves the collection of stamps on Christmas card envelopes, is already well underway and these will be sold to buy bicycles which will help with transporting medical aid in remote African villages.

Anyone in the Crossgar area who wants to help with appeal can leave their contributions at the Post Office.

DOWNPATRICK — Representatives of Downpatrick organisations are asked to turn their backs on the wintry weather and go to the town’s library for a public meeting to consider plans for a major Maytime festival.

A steering committee, which was born out of ideas kicked around by Down Council’s arts committee more than a year ago, will present good thinking on how a wholehearted three-day festival of family fun will put the town in holiday form as never before.

The centrepiece of the holiday weekend will be a pageant with a Patrician theme and possibly a medieval type flavour. Jousting is a distinct possibility and so are a number of other unusual dimensions.

Although it will be called St Patrick’s Festival, the steering committee believe that a Maytime date would be better favoured by the weather than one on March 17 and would allow them to provide a much wider range of outdoor and indoor attractions.

KILLYLEAGH — A Stormont Minister is to be asked to prevent the extension of a caravan park near Killyleagh.

The unprecedented step is being taken by Down Council in protest against a recommendation made by planners to allow the development at East Down Yacht Club. The council are unhappy about the reasons given by the planners to allow the development to proceed.

NEWCASTLE — The International Nile Canoe Expedition — which includes 23 year-old Newcastle man Marcus Baillie — is making significant progress and more than a third of the death-defying trip has been completed.

Two significant firsts have been achieved by the eight-man expedition team which has already reached Khartoum in its bid to complete the longest continuous navigation of the mighty African river.

Marcus, a former Down High School pupil, is hoping to complete the harrowing journey within the next three months.

No-one has ever canoed over such a long stretch of the Nile and Marcus, who now lives in Liverpool, admitted before he left that the trip would not be easy.

Despite many warnings from locals, few crocodiles were seen and the herds of hippopotamus provide much less troublesome than the  mosquitos.

The team are now battling slowly northwards against a strong head wind towards the famous cataracts and Egypt’s Aswan.

CASTLEWELLAN — A burst water main in the Castlewellan area brought about a dry Christmas for scores of local families.

There were also fears the sudden drought could spread to Dromore and Banbridge when the water mains burst between Tullymurray and Mayobridge. Because of the work to rule action by watermen, it meant the problem was not dealt with for several days.

As a result families living near Tullymurray were without water since Christmas Day.

PORTAFERRY — Stage two of a new sewerage scheme for Portaferry is expected to get underway in May and should take four months to complete.

The Department of the Environment’s Eastern Division Water Service has announced that the second of three contracts  is now being advertised and work will involve the construction of a pumping station. The scheme is designed to improve the existing sewerage system in Portaferry.

BALLYNAHINCH — Ballynahinch Camera Club will hold its first meeting of the new year tomorrow night and has appealed for anyone interested in photography to come along to the town’s library where the special speaker will be Stanley Matchett, of the Daily Mirror.

The aim of the club is to help amateur photographers to develop their hobby by way of of talks, slide and film shows and processing demonstrations. There will be monthly and seasonal competitions, as well as trips.

CARRYDUFF — Carryduff residents are to meet soon with Castlereagh Borough Council members to discuss facilities in the Carryduff area. The residents will be represented by the Carryduff Parent Teacher Association who held a similar meeting a year ago.

Among the topics to be discussed will be pedestrian crossings on the Ballynahinch and Saintfield Roads and progress reports on the provision of amenities in the area.

SPA — Spa Young Farmers’ Club held its annual dinner dance and a film show recently. The dinner dance was held in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel and after a very enjoyable meal dancing began to the music of Flair.

BALLYKINLAR — The Guide  Dog for the Blind Association benefited recently to the tune of £500 which was presented by the officer commanding the Second Battalion Light Infantry, who are stationed at Ballykinlar.

BANBRIDGE — Homespun Records, which leads the field in producing homegrown country music talent in the province, have added another winners to their rostrum of artists — Joe E Hamilton, from Banbridge, who has released his first album.

Although this is his first time on disc, Joe’s name will not be new to anyone in the Co Down area. Joe is a very experienced performer, both as a solo artist and fronting his own band.

A lot of the experience that shows through in Joe’s personal appearances was picked up during a three-year period touring the working men’s clubs circuit in England, Wales and Scotland, where he appeared alongside a great many of the artists regularly seen on television.

SPORT — Outdoor sporting organisations, already facing fixture backlogs due to rain, snow, ice and frost over the past number of weeks, are now facing another problem — how to find petrol to get them to their matches.

Most clubs find themselves in the predicament of not having the petrol to travel to away games and already one soccer league has decided to postpone all of this Saturday’s fixtures, even though it throws the fixture list into further chaos.

Soccer clubs have already been hit severely by weather conditions over the past number of weeks and now some are hoping that the governing body will see fit to extend the season into May. No date has yet been arranged for the postponed Border Cup final between Drumaness Mills and Barn United.

The GAA programme could also be badly affected — the all-county leagues are already well behind schedule — and most hockey clubs are also affected.