From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 8, 1992

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 8, 1992

12 January 2022

BISHOPSCOURT – A campaign has been launched this week to oppose the use of the former Bishopscourt airfield, outside Downpatrick, as the location for a motor-cycle race track.

Local residents are to forward a petition to the Planning Service asking it to block the new use proposed for the former air base.

The residents claim that if a track is developed at the base, it will “radially reduce the attraction of the locality”.

The air base at Ballyhornan was closed at the end of 1990 as part of Government’s defence cuts but there are plans to stage a motor bike race meeting there later this year.

The Road Racing Club is making arrangements to stage a race meeting on Saturday, March 14.

Last week a planning application was lodged with the Planning Service in Downpatrick seeking approval to use part of 124 acres at the base as the location for a motor-cycle track.

A spokesman for local residents explained: “Such a move would be disastrous, not only for those of us who live in the immediate vicinity of Bishopscourt but also for the whole area.

“We are currently assembling a petition which will be presented to the planning authorities, and would appreciate support for it, while local councillors must  be made aware of public feeling.”

Two former riders are promoting Bishopscourt as joint owners and one of them, Mr John Giffin, said yesterday “a lot of people in the area are behind it.”

“We have permission to stage 14 events and are now seeking full planning permission. It was stated in the original prospectus that motor racing was one of three things which would be looking upon favourably,” he explained.

BALLYNAHINCH – The business community in Ballynahinch has been challenged to press forward with a development plan to take the town into the next century.

The challenge made this week by South Down MP, Mr Eddie McGrady, who appealed to local traders to lead the way in the commercial regeneration of the town.

Addressing Ballynahinch Chamber of Commerce on Monday night, Mr McGrady said it as up to the town’s business community to take the initiative and put together a package of measures which would be eligible for substantial grant aid. 

He told members: “I will try to help in any way I can, but the major thrust of any regeneration of Ballynahinch must come from the people in this room.”

The SDLP MP said the town must take advantage of various grant-aided programmes, such as the Department of Environment’s urban development and environmental improvement schemes, which could be used to improve either individual premises or sections of the town.

NEWCASTLE – Newcastle Chamber of Commerce has defended its decision to erect just a few Christmas decorations in the town.

Fifteen illuminated figures were erected along Main Street before Christmas but at the monthly Chamber meeting several traders expressed dissatisfaction at the decorations.

Some said the figures were too small and poorly illuminate while others said they looked insignificant when compared with those in Downpatrick and Ballynahinch.

However, Chamber President, Mr Peter Law, defended the decorations, saying it was all the group could afford at the time.

“The figures which we purchased cost £2,000 and there were additional expenses incurred in having them erected, so it was felt we would be better staying within our budge rather than over-reaching ourselves,” he said.

“I do not think the Chamber would stay in existence very long if we had gone ahead and spent several thousand pounds and later approached the business community for the money,” he added.

DUNDRUM – A  Dundrum man who waded chest high in the flooded Moneycarragh River to save the lives of nine sheep is the toast of local farmers.

Mr Philip Connor, 43, De Courcey Way was out exercising his dogs in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when his attention was drawn to the nearby river by raised voices.

Seeing the plight of sheep struggling in the deep water, he raced home to lock up the dogs, which he reckoned would become a nuisance, and came back with a rope to begin a rescue bid as darkness fell.

Believing they might have been owned by neighbouring farmer Wilbert Hassard, he had him contracted.

He had been told that about a dozen sheep had been driven into the  river by two collies. Some of them had become  entangled with barbed wire as they crashed through fencing. 

He described the next half-hour alone in the cold, swirling flood waters as “some wrestling match”. But he could not have gone home knowing that they were fighting for their lives.

Without his trousers on, but wearing wellington boots to protect his feet, he had to lift some of the trapped animals over two banks to safety.

DOWNPATRICK – A Downpatrick social club faces the risk of closure following objections to the renewal of its licence.

The RUC has formally objected to the renewal of the drinks licence for the Saul Street Social Club.

It is understood to be the first objection by police in Down District to a club licence renewal since the new, stronger Registration of Clubs legislation came into force in February 1988.

Licence applications for a number of Down’s 26 other licences clubs were formally approve at Downpatrick Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

However, when the application by the Saul Street Club was formally called, police lodged an objection. The case has been deferred until the end of the month to allow a special date to be fixed to hear the case.

This will allow the RUC an opportunity to outline the nature of their objection and for the club to defend itself agains the allegation.

CARRYDUFF – Two roads project at Carryduff are among minor works schemes which have been delayed by the Government moratorium on public expenditure.

Strangford Ulster Unionist MP, Mr John Taylor, has been told in a Parliamentary written answer that works has been delayed on schemes at Manse Road/Saintfield Road junction, Carryduff; and the Killynure Road/Church Road junction, Carryduff. 

BALLYGOWAN – Police are continuing their investigations into a fire which killed a man at a house in Ballygowan on New Year’s Day.

Another man was seriously injured when a fireball engulfed a derelict house at Tullyhubbert Road. 

The fireball erupted at around 10am as the two men prepared to demolish the house. It is believed 

the two men intended to burn the wooden floor first and had just doused the area with  flammable liquids when the fire broke out.

It is thought fumes built up and ignited, causing an explosion. The survivor was taken to hospital but his condition is not thought to be serious.

KILLLYLEAGH – A Killyleagh man can boast an unusual connection with free hostage Terry Waite.

Retired town postman Sammy Watson, of Castleview, has received a copy of the postcard from the same source which helped the Church of England envoy during his period of confinement.

Mrs Joy Woodier, who sent the postcard of the famous cleric John Bunyan to Waite while 

he was held in Beirut, has sent Sammy one as well.

He explains” “My eight year-old grand-daughter, Laura, wrote to Mrs Boodier explaining that I am a keen collector of postcards and asking if it would be possible to send a copy of the postcard which inspired Terry Waite.

The card duly arrived from the Bunyan Meeting Church in Mill Street, Bedford, where Bunyan ministered in the 17th century.

Sammy put the card on display in his own church, Second Killyleagh Presbyterian, where he sings in the choir, was part of an exhibition of Christmas postcards.

But now Sammy has the card back at home where it has pride of place in his collection which contains postcards from across the world.