From the pages of the Down Recorder, July 11, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, July 11, 1978

11 July 2018

BALLYNAHINCH— An ambitious project to reopen part of the old County Down railway is beginning to build up steam.

The operation is being carried out by a group of railway fanatics, the Belfast and Co Down Railway Trust, and last week they successfully managed to transport two old railway engines from Dublin to Ballynahinch.

On Thursday the engines arrives at Ballynahinch Junction after a complicated operation which involved towing them all the way from Dublin.

They originally belonged to the Irish Sugar Company and were used at sugar factories as shunting engines before they were taken off the rails and kept in store in 1956. When they eventually arrived at Ballynahinch Junction they were unloaded by a 40-ton crane on to tracks.

One of the founder members of the Trust, Mr Bob Pue, explained that although they had fallen into a bad state they could still be repaired.

Mr Pue said the railway scheme was “starting to stand on its feet” and revealed that negotiations were taking place with landowners in order to acquire land along the line.

“Their attitude so far has been outstanding and they all seem to support the project,” he said. “We are absolutely amazed at the tremendous response from local people.”

NEWCASTLE — Colette Moore had that on top of the world feeling on Thursday night when she learned that she had won the Miss Newcastle 1978 title and prize money of £100.

Colette, a 20 year-old local girl, has dark brown hair and green eyes and is studying history and politics at the Ulster Polytechnic.

Her happy smile will be greeting holidaymakers to Newcastle on Saturday when she leads the grand festival parade. The parade, which will contain six bands and between 40 and 50 floats, starts at the former railway station and progresses along Main Street to Donard Park.

CASTLEWELLAN — The twelfth annual Castlewellan horse and agricultural show will be held in the forest park on Saturday and already the high number of entries and increased prize money indicate that it is going to be bigger and more successful than ever before.

Thousands of entries are expected to arrive in Castlewellan Forest Park from all over the province to take part in what is the biggest one-day show in Northern Ireland. Indeed, over 12,000 agricultural enthusiasts attended last year’s event and this year an even larger crowd is expected to start pouring into the show as early as nine o’clock in the morning.

The event offers a higher amount of prize money than any other agricultural show in the province and this year’s figure stands at £3,500, with many cups and trophies also to be competed for. It receives no grant aid from government departments and is a credit to the local people who contribute to make it a huge success.

“Entries are already as good as last year and look like being even bigger than we have had before,” said the show secretary, Inspector Fred McComiskey. “The crowd which we manage to draw here yearly is staggering and it is getting bigger each year.

The show consists of 121 classes and these will be judged in 14 rings. Catering will be by and in aid of the Annsborough and Castlewellan Combat Cancer Group, who have an excellent reputation for providing high class food.

DRUMANESS — Mr Desmond Owens, from Drumaness, has been promoted to the post of manager of the Northern Bank in Drumshando, Co Leitrim.

A special party for Mr Owens, whose previous post was sub-manager of the bank in Andersonstown, was held in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch, on Sunday by St Macartan’s Choir, of which he is a member.

Mr and Mrs Owens were presented with a cheque and Waterford crystal glasses by Mr and Mrs Seamus Madden, on behalf of choir members. The party was organised by Fr Bready, PP Loughinisland, and choir members of St Macartan’s.

PORTAFERRY — If you think you could muster up enough strength to take part in a two-mile jog then this year’s Portaferry Gala is the place to be.

The organisers of the one-week Gala programme have arranged a special fun run which offers a certificate for all who are willing to flex their leg muscles.

This is just one of a host of entertaining events which are included in a festival of fun which runs from July 15-22. Other attractions range from a glamorous granny competition to an open-air amateur boxing competition.

Gala secretary Billy Ellison says he is convinced that this year’s event will prove a big hit with the crowds. “We are expecting a really big turn-out and we have organised a variety of new events,” he  explained.

“A special pony jumping event has been organised and we are expecting a large entry — it is the first time we have had jumping in Portaferry in 25 years. We have also organised an amateur boxing event for the first time and I am sure this will prove a huge crowd puller.”

DOWNPATRICK — All roads led to Downpatrick on Saturday when Co Down Young Farmers held their 14th annual rally at Grangewalls House just outside the town. Hundreds of YFCU members from all over Down converged on the farm for this high point in their annual calendar.

Although the weather made the atmosphere a little damp, the day was a great success — with tribute paid to the work of the chairman, Mr Max Ervine.

The morning began with a series of farm task competitions. The fun really began in the afternoon with a variety of events, including a pram race, ladies’ five-a-side football and a hilarious donkey derby. There was also a bumper It’s a Knockout competition involving 21 teams who were locked in a close fight.

KILLYLEAGH — In spite of the unsettled weather, Killyleagh Youth Club’s annual fete attracted a good crowd to the Showgrounds on Saturday. Some 20 stalls were well attended throughout the afrernoon and pony rides and swing boats were as popular as ever. The ladies’ football gathered a large audience and the 2-2 result reflected the play between the two sides

BALLYKINLAR — A group of 16 children from Gingerbread, true local organisation for one-parent families, spent Sunday as the guests of the Second Battalion of the Light Infantry at Ballykinlar.

The boys and girls arrived at Ballykinlar at 10am where they were greeted by the Battalion’s second in command, Major Richard Chetwynd-Stapylton, community relations officer.

After fun and games on the beach, the group moved to the gym, indoor swimming pool and assault course during their busy itinerary. The children were treated to lunch by the Battalion and left Ballykinlar tired but happy by 3.30pm.

KILCLIEF — Ben Dearg Kilclief GAC held its annual sports day on Sunday. A large crowd attended and were attended by St Patrick’s Accordian Band, Saul. A fancy dress parade was held in Strangford in the evening and the judges were Fr C Coyle, CC, Paul and Mrs Campbell and Mrs D Kelly.

KINAHALLA— There’s been more criticism of the government plans to build a new multi-million pound dam at Kinahalla in the Mournes. Anglers said this week that the dam will seriously effect the Upper Bann and could “kill it off completely.”

The proposed new dam is now estimated to draw off about 80% of the Bann water and has already been strongly criticised by angling groups in the Mournes.

Down Council and the Ulster Tourist Development Association have also questioned the effect the project will have on local rivers.

BALLYKEEL — Ballykeel Pipe Band from Moneyreagh notched up another success at the weekend when they finished first in the Grade 3 section of the All-Ireland championship held at New Ross.