From the pages of the Down Recorder, March 25, 1980

From the pages of the Down Recorder, March 25, 1980

25 March 2020

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick’s Grand Cinema is to re-open in September, six years after it closed its doors.

Workmen will move in shortly to give the cinema a £25,000 facelift and when the picture house is re-opened, it should be able to compete with the best in Ireland.

That is the aim of Mr Harley Breen, the owner of the cinema, who this week outlined the work which needs to be completed before the curtain opens.

“Work is expected to take around six months and will involve completely refurbishing the inside of the cinema,” Mr Breen explained.

“We will be taking out all the seating and replacing it with a new type of seating, the most exclusive available. A new heating system will be installed and, of course, some new equipment will be needed,” Mr Breen said.

The shopping list of work to be done at the cinema also includes fitting a new screen and extending the full ambit of the front area, re-carpeting, relighting and rewiring the building.

“All this is geared,” says Mr Bren, “to make this cinema the most up-to-date picture house around and to enable it to compete with any other in Ireland.”

“Everything will be aimed at making the place cosier. Indeed, we will be reducing the seating capacity from around 450 to 350, and this should give customers more leg room. Also, the entrance will be restructured,” he added.

The cinema will be open seven days a week and already some of the top films and being lined up for the Grand.

DRUMAROAD — Top singing star Dana was the guest star at a concert organised by St John’s GFC in Drumaroad on Friday night.

The former Eurovision Song Contest winner was top of the bill in the concert, which was unfortunately affected by snow blizzards, many ticket holders unable to attend.

Nevertheless, several hundred people turned up to listen to the Derry girl give a great night’s entertainment.

It was exactly ten years since Dana won the Eurovision contest, but the local crowd gave her an equally rapturous reception, having warmed to her personality.

In return Dana delighted them with 90 minutes of rock ‘n roll, ballads and Irish songs, including her now famous ‘Totus Tuus’, which is a tribute to the Pope’s recent Irish visit.

Her performance was preceded by musical entertainment from Dana’s brother, Gerry, and his group. The show was excellently compered by comedian Paul Cherry.

The club would like to thank Fr Park for the use of the Drumaroad hall, Mrs Grieves for providing the refreshments, and Vincent Marmion and Eamonn Jennings for assistance with the electrical and heating systems.

BALLYNAHINCH — Bus commuters in Ballynahinch have been faced with the unusual recently — the sight of the district’s first female Ulsterbus driver behind the wheel.

Mrs Noelene Reid, of Rockey Lane, Castlenavan, is the latest recruit to Ballynahinch bus station and for those lucky enough to be travelling on certain routes, they will have the pleasure of paying the fare to the locality’s first female driver.

Noelene, a married woman with two young daughters, joined the six-strong Ballynahinch staff two weeks ago, and already has settled into her new job.

She completed her four weeks’ training before being assigned to her home two depot – to become the first woman driver outside Belfast to be employed by Ulsterbus.

Noelene has always been keen on driving, and it was this that made her apply for a position as a bus driver. Her previous experience had been restricted to cars, tractors and Land Rovers, but she was always keen on tackling something bigger.

“Being so fond of driving, it was only natural that I would take such a job. Lorries were out of the question, as drivers often have to load their vehicles, so when I say the advert for bus drivers I thought I would apply,” said Noelene.

“I never thought it possible that they would accept me, so it was a pleasant surprise when I was offered the chance to attend the Ulsterbus training school. I was the only female among the drivers, but that didn’t deter me.”

BALLYGOWAN — A teenage Ballygowan girl has ben congratulated by the Northern Ireland Hotel Catering Association for her success at a recent salon culinaire.

Margaret Wilson won the gold award in the junior section and this earned her praise from the Association.

Margaret had been attending the Association’s catering course at the college in Portrush this year, having progressed from Downpatrick Technical College where she passed the pre-catering course to earn qualification.

She was entered by the Association for the salon culinaire at Belfast Castle at the start of the month, and her win prompted them to write to the South Eastern Education and Library Board to congratulate them on such an outstanding pupil.

The Association’s letter was read at Tuesdays’ Board meeting, where members were pleased to se Margaret’s progress. Her win, which was the result of her cold egg dish using six eggs, should boost her for the four important examinations which she takes this year, say the Association.

Meanwhile, a Portaferry girl, Marie McCullough, has won a certificate at the catering course run by the Department of Manpower Services at Leander House Training Centre, Portrush.

Marie was one of 17 girls who won awards at the centre’s presentation day on Tuesday.

SPA — The curtain finally came down on Spa Young Farmers Club’s production of George Shiels comedy, ‘The Tame Drudge’, in the McKee Hall, Boardmills.

During the five performances 1,300 people enjoyed the comedy and the enthusiasm with which it was performed.

The show drew much acclaim from appreciative audiences and praise from the YFC adjudicator on his visit to Ballynahinch.

The cast included David Patterson, Betty Young, Heather Jordan, Robert Patterson, Robin Wallace, Trevor Sinclair, Jennifer Greene, Mark McMillan, Jane McCoubrey, George Patterson, David Dodd and Trevor Johnston.

Cecil Orr, with the assistance of Margaret Patterson, produced the show.

Congratulations are also in order for two club members. Trevor Johnston was placed first in Northern Ireland for his entry in the 16-18 year group of the craftwork competition. Trevor, therefore, wins the County Cup for his entry, which was a wooden fruit bowl.

Desmond Rutherford tied for first place as County Down treasurer of the year and the club gained third place in the County Down efficiency competition.

The club’s recent meeting concentrated on making arrangements for the final night of the present season – parents’ night and the distribution of prizes.

PORTAFERRY — Controversy over Portaferry’s sewerage scheme could end up on the floor of the House of Commons.

North Down MP, Mr Jim Kilfedder, warned that if the Environment Minister, Mr Philip Goodhart, refused to meet a deputation from various concerned organisations in the area, or if they did not receive satisfaction, then he would be attempting to raise the matter in the House of Commons.

Mr Kilfedder’s remarks were contained in a press statement released after Tuesday night’s protest meeting in Newtownards Town Hall.

The meeting had ben called to give angry townspeople, yachtsmen, biologists and conservations an opportunity to unite in opposition to the plan to pump mashed raw sewage into Strangford Lough from an outlet pipe at Ballyhenry Bay.

Inside the Town Hall the large Londonderry Room was jam-packed with standing room only for some of the 100-plus audience.

The meeting lasted just over two hours and was at times tense. On several occasions it erupted with a number of speakers from the floor urging that the fight to prevent the scheme should be stepped up. The Department of Environment were not represented at the meeting.

The meeting began with the chairman, Mr Kilfedder, telling the audience — representing a wide cross section of the whole local community — that he did not blame them for being angry about what had happened and the manner in which the Department was pushing ahead with its proposals.

He said everyone should be concerned about the consequences of the scheme and he felt there was still time to shelve the scheme.

Mr Kilfedder also referred to the building of the sewerage pumping station and said it shattered all good planning principles. It was an eye sore and ought to be removed.

SAINTFIELD — The 2nd Saintfield Company of the Boys Brigade held its 24th annual inspection and display in 2nd Saintfield Presbyterian Church Hall on Friday.

The inspecting officer was Mr E Johnston, and the chairman was the Rev N W Woodrow. The presentation of awards the inspecting officer gave his remarks.

Company officer Mr D I McAuley gave his report, pointing out that membership had doubled over the past three years, thanks mainly to the thriving robins and junior section.

He said he would be handing over the reins to Mr Jim Martin, who had been a founder officer of the company.

Reviewing the year, Mr McAuley said that the sports team had finished sixth in the events at Newcastle out of a total of 30, and also mentioned the successes at Christian Education level, drill, football, table tennis, 

It’s a Knockout, battalion camp, the car wash, the annual dinner, the senor citizens dinner, the badge work, the BB Week contributions and the trip to Liverpool.

KIRKISTOWN — A cottage on the main Cloughey Road, in the Ards Peninsula and in the shadow of the well known landmark Kirkistown Castle, is for sale.

Originally this cottage was a home for the caretaker of the Castle and surrounding farmland which were formerly part of the Montgomery Estate.

The castle now belongs to the Department of Environment and during the course of the year attracts many students and tourists.

John and Mary Brown, the present owners of the cottage, tell many a take of American tourists who were so awestricken by this ancient monument they would offer to buy it on the spot.

Many have traced their roots back to this area in the Ards and were always eager to chat to the older members of the local community.

SCOUTS — Two retired Downpatrick District scout leaders were honoured at a special function held at the Lobster Pot, Strangford, on Wednesday night.

Mr Jim Cockfield, who has spent 28 years with Inch Parish Scouts, and Mr Sandy Reid, who has spent 13 years with the 1st Downpatrick troop, each received their presentations from the district commissioner, Mr Harry Galbraith.

Both received a plaque and tray to mark their retirement, and Mr Reid also was presented with a certificate, the Chief Scouts Commendation.

Mr Galbraith said that Mr Reid had become involved in local scouting affairs almost 14 years ago in response to local parents. He took on the task of troop leader, which he carried out with a cheerful and conscientious approach.

After he relinquished the leadership, Sandy began the Venture Scout unit, which has since become a great success. During his 14 years’ service, he had been involved in many things, including a stint as the district’s swimming instructor at the learner pool.

He helped maintain and carry out sundry repairs necessary to keep the Downpatrick Scout headquarters functional over the years, and was rightfully known locally as Mr Scouting.