From the pages of the Down Recorder, December 5, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, December 5, 2001

1 December 2021

KILLYLEAGH – A corner of Killyleagh that lay derelict for many years has been redeveloped as part of a £385,000 regeneration scheme.

The town’s development association officially unveiled a number of buildings at High Street which have been transformed in the project which was funded by the local group and the International Fund for Ireland.

Killyleagh Development Association chairman Professor Bob Elwood officially received the keys for the buildings from developer Maurice Crawford during a ceremony on Friday afternoon.

Professor Elwood confirmed that both apartments in the scheme had already been let, while a cottage at the top of the street had been sold.

Four shop units are also available and Professor Elwood said the association was in negotiations with business people about potential projects.

“It was essential that this area was refurbished and renewed in an effort to bring new businesses and new people to the town,” he said.

“Although these buildings are new, they have been designed to blend in with the rest of the street which is Georgian in style.”

Former Killyleagh councillor Sam Osborne said he was proud to have been invited to open the new facility.

“Out of all the people that could have been asked to this, I find it was great honour that the community has given me the opportunity to perform this function,” he said.

“You only have to go back to the beginning of the year to know that this area was an eyesore and to see it now I can hardly believe the transformation that has taken place.”

DOWNPATRICK – One of Downpatrick’s oldest bars is in line for a major improvement scheme which could top the £800,000 mark.

Rea’s Hotel in Lower Market Street has been bought by two local businessmen who plan to turn the property into one of the district’s top entertainment attractions.

The plans, which include a major refurbishment programme, will transform the current building which in its heyday was at the centre of attraction in the town centre.

Brothers Mark and Bartley Murphy are confident the major investment will result in premises on a par with the very best Belfast has to offer and say the venture will be successful.

Once the refurbishment programme has been completed, Rea’s will serve food all day and there will also be a function room which will be hired for private parties and other similar functions.

“The aim is to provide a facility which will 

be high class and top-of-the-range and the level of investment reflects this,” said Mr Mark 


“The premises have been bought and work to transform them could start early in the New Year.

BALLYNAHINCH – Ballynahinch Lions Club have recruited the help of high school students in the town to launch their annual Christmas food appeal on behalf of the needy.

Pupils from Ballynahinch High and St Colman’s were on hand recently to back Lions Club president Eddie Russell’s appeal for pub lic support for this important service to the community.

This weekend, members of the Lions Club and their supporters will be on duty at shops and supermarkets in the area asking local people to contribute to the appeal.

Mr  Russell said the Lions Club is inviting shoppers to purchase one or more items of non-perishable food and place it in the trolley or basket provided.

“At the end of the collection, the Lions will sort out the food into hampers for the needy and these will be distributed in time for the festive season,” he said.

“The Lions believe that at this time of year, many people in the community are anxious to support those who are perhaps not quite as well off as themselves and this project is an ideal way of doing so.

SPA – A Spa musician is preparing to launch her first CD. Isabel Keenan will publicly unveil ‘Go in Peace’, a compilation of sacred music, at a special event in the Arnold Hall, Spa, on Friday, December 14, at 8pm.

The guest artists at the special concert will be Crawford Bell and Ivan Black. Mrs Keenan is well known in the Ballynahinch area where her husband, John, has been minister of the Presbyterian churches of Magherahamlet and Spa for the past 15 years. The couple have two sons, Nigel and Michael.

She was educated at Regent House School in Newtownards and Stranmillis College and throughout her life has maintained the strong interest in music first encouraged by her parents.

She studied under Frank Capper and Alfred Burrowes and is the organist in Spa church. She also conducts the Quoile Women’s Institute choir.

DRUMAROAD – A Down councillor has this week praised Roads Service officials for addressing a major flood problem near Drumaroad.

Mr Patsy Toman says the work of local engineers, who have come up with a solution to cure a

problem at the Scribb Road outside the village, deserves public praise.

He said politicians were often quick to criticise Roads Service officials and not too forthcoming with praise, but local people were delighted with the scheme.

A dip in the road results in severe flooding, even after periods of relatively little rainfall, but despite how heavy future downpours may be, Roads Service engineers are confident they now have the problem cracked.

Mr Toman said in addition to coming up with a scheme which has secured the support of local residents, Roads Service officials have also worked closely with local farmers during the design process.

“The road was a victim of flash floods and the water which could not get away resulted in

major difficulties for children trying to get to school and residents attempting to get to work,” he explained.

CROSSGAR – A new book charting the first 50 years of Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church was launched last week.

The History of Crossgar Free Prebyterian Church in Ulster was unveiled before a packed congregation in the Killyleagh Street church last Thursday evening.

Crossgar holds a special place in the history of the Free Presbyterian Church. It was events there 50 years ago that led effectively to the foundation of the Free Presbyterian Church.

A dispute concerning the attendance of the Rev Ian Paisley at a gospel meeting resulted in a number of leading members of Lissara Presbyterian Church breaking away to form a new congregation.

On March 17, 1951, Crossgar Free Presbyterian Church held its first service in the Killyleagh Street Mission Hall. It was also the first service of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster denomination.

This history of the church is written by Glynn Moore and Sharon Dick, whose family 

have been associated with the church over many years.

STRANGFORD – Two new groups aimed at supporting the campaign to retain maternity services in the area have been formed in Ardglass and Strangford.

Two of the people behind the groups are Roisin Denvir and Brenda Devlin. They hope they will be the first of many to be established across the district by women concerned at the loss of vital inpatient services.

The new groups, which will work under the umbrella of the Ardglass and District Health Support Group, were formed following a meeting in the fishing village last week which was addressed by local maternity hospital campaigners.

Mrs Fiona Connolly and Mrs Sharon Smith outlined the current threat to the unit as a result of new risk criteria which have been introduced and the impact this is having on the number of births.

Both women are members of the Hearts of Down Women’s Group and the Maternity Services Liaison Committee and were delighted to lend their support to the concerned mothers in Ardglass.

ARDGLASS – A rural post office was targeted by armed masked men during a robbery on Thursday morning.

The men were wearing camouflage clothing and balaclavas when they entered Chapeltown Post Office, near Ardglass.

One man was believed to have been carrying a rifle or shotgun and the other was brandishing a handgun. Staff were ordered to the floor while a substantial amount of money was taken.

The duo made off in a blue Vauxhall Cavalier which was later found abandoned.