From the pages of the Down Recorder, September 5, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, September 5, 1978

5 September 2018

BALLYNAHINCH — Ballynahinch soccer was rocked at the weekend when six Ballynahinch Rec players were injured in a car crash in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Two of the players, Terry Lurring and Gary Crawford, received serious neck injuries and are expected to be out of the game for a long time. The other four players, including the driver, may be out of action for the next few months.

Apart from Lurring, who suffered severe neck and head injuries, first teamers Sean McCann and Hugh Hanna were also injured.

The second team players affected were Crawford, Joe Hanna and Paddy Marner. Another passenger, not involved with the club, was also injured.

Rec player/manager Sam Robinson was “very disturbed” by the news and has already made representations to Blue Circle to have this Saturday’s game called off.

He said it was a “drastic blow to the club as we chase promotion,” but added that his first concern was for the players, rather than results.

“The accident has badly shaken our club and the loss of such players, even for a small period, will upset our rhythm,” he said.

“But let’s put the whole thing into perspective. First, we must worry about the welfare of our players rather than what results we can achieve without them. Providing they all can make full recoveries I personally won’t be upset if we lose most of our matches.

This is not the first tragedy to hit Ballynahinch footballers this year. During the summer Mark Gibson, a signed player with both Ballynahinch Rec seconds and Ballynahinch Swifts, was also seriously injured in a car crash.

STRANGFORD LOUGH — A man told this week of his nightmare swim in Strangford Lough as his three young children drifted helplessly out to sea.

Mr Alan Milligan and his sons, Roger (8) and Peter (6), and four year-old daughter Cheryl were eventually rescued by police and coastguards, but not until after what Mr Milligan described as a “very rough experience.”

He and his children were sailing a 10-get boat when the engine failed. He started rowing back to shore, but one of the oars slipped overboard and into the water.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to circle the oar, Mr Milligan decided to jump overboard to retrieve it. After getting the oar, Mr Milligan tried to swim back to the boat, but it was drifting away in the strong tide.

A strong swimmer, Mr Milligan struck out for the shore and was about half a mile out when he was picked up by police in a rowing boat.

“I shouted to the children to keep calm and they did. A few minutes later the Whiterock coat guards picked them up from the drifting boat,” he said.

DRUMANESS — An acceptable price for Drumaness Mill was still unobtainable last night, according auctioneers. Bidding at Friday’s public auction in the Millbrook Lodge Hotel began at £20,000, a third of the price suggested at the outset.

Offers rose slowly by £2,000 a time and after a considerable period of coaxing Noel Killen, of Seaforde, offered £31,000. He is still the top bid. It is understood that two additional parties are interested in acquiring the 75,000 sq ft red brick building which once provided work for 400 people when it was owned by Hursts, part of the Ulster Weaving Group.

Nearly 150 years old, the five-storey mill was used for the wet spinning of flax and most of its flooring is tiled.  This activity closed ten years ago. Today most of its windows are broken.

Only a handful of interested people turned up  at Friday’s auction, for which the hotel ballroom had hundreds of chairs laid out. The auctioneer, Mr Sidney Mawhinney, adjourned activity when, as he said himself, the bidding hadn’t gone above the price of a very good modern bungalow.

After consulting representatives of the vendors he came back to apologise for the delay and said that £31,000 was a “ridiculous” figure for Drumaness Mill and its ancillary buildings sited on approximately five acres.

Ownership of the building has changed at least twice since it was sold by the Ulster Weaving  Group of companies for rather less than £20,000, considered to be very reasonable at the time.

Hopes of new employment being provided by a hatchery concern fizzled out about five years ago, only to be renewed in 1976 when Northern Dairies — now Dale Farm — acquired the property.

BALLYCULTER — Fungus munching brothers Peter, Michael and Mark Johnston made a startling discovery during their summer holidays near Strangford. The boys stumbled on a giant puff-ball while holidaying at Cargagh Lane, Ballyculter, and since then they have discovered that it makes good eating.

Indeed, they have already munched their way through half of the puff-ball, a perfect example of Calvatia Gigantea, which is very rare.

“At first we had no idea what it was,” said 14 year-old Michael. “We thought it had come from outer space.”

Sixteen year-old brother Peter said: “Curiosity forded us to taste it and we have now eaten more than half of it.

“It is delicious when you try it in egg and breadcrumbs — it tastes like mushrooms. We were extremely lucky to find it because this has been a very bad year for fungi.”

DOWNPATRICK — The Eastern Health and Social Services Board has renewed its commitment to the building of a new general hospital in Downpatrick.

Sir Thomas Brown, Board chairman, told a local deputation this week that plans for the hospital had not been abandoned.

Sir Thomas gave the assurance to a five-man deputation from the Down District Health and Social Services Committee.

Afterwards Mr O F Adams, committee chairman, said he accepted this as a “clear statement of Board policy which will remain unaltered unless specific proposals to the contrary are put the Board.”

Another committee member, Mr Cecil Maxwell, said he was “very satisfied” with the outcome of the meeting.

NEWCASTLE — The special fireworks fiesta at Newcastle on Friday night drew big crowds to Donard Park. The display was organised by Down District Council as part of their Percy French festival and more than £500 worth of fireworks were used.

Billy Caughey was the master of ceremonies for the evening and introduced several bands who played selections prior to the display.

CROSSGAR — Mr James Mejury, founder of the family motor business in Crossgar, died at his home this week. He was 80. A native of Ballyronan, Derry, he moved with his family from Belfast to Shrigley after the outbreak of the last war and began his business in Killyleagh Street, Crossgar.

His conscientiousness at work meant that 12-hour days were common place. The solution of customers’ problems were his delight.

DRUMAROAD — Gene Fitzpatrick, voted Ulster’s top cabaret artist, is to compere a grand variety concert organised by St Patrick’s Scouts and Cubs in Drumaroad Hall next Tuesday night. A top class line-up includes Fergie, Houl Yer Whist, Dominic Hughes and a local supporting cast.

During the past few months the boys and their leaders have been very busy. The cubs spent a very enjoyable five days at Clare, while 30 miles away the scouts were on a ten-day camp at Birr, Co Offaly.

The scouts won the Diocesan Shield and represented Dromore diocese a few weeks ago at the Melviin Trophy in Dublin where they gained considerable success.

KILLINCHY — A harvest fair in Killinchy Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday afternoon raised £1,300 for church funds. There was a high standard of entries for the various classes for bread, cakes, fruit and vegetables and sales were also good.

The crowds seemed to enjoy a variety of sideshows on the football pitch where darts shooting and beanbag games contributed to the fun.