NI forward Josh Magennis 'amazed' by hometown mural

Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis at the new mural in Bangor
Northern Ireland striker Josh Magennis at the new mural in Bangor

Northern Ireland forward Josh Magennis has been immortalised in a new mural yards from his boyhood home.

The Charlton Athletic player and 'hometown hero' following his country's dramatic European Championship 2016 campaign grew up in the Bloomfield housing estate in Bangor, Co Down.

The Charlton Athletic forward signs autographs for local schoolchildren

The Charlton Athletic forward signs autographs for local schoolchildren

Pupils from the local primary school, community association and public housing authority helped create the striking wall painting.

Magennis said: "I would like to thank everyone in Bloomfield Estate and especially my family, who were always supportive of my desire to be a footballer.

"The Housing Executive mural is absolutely amazing and it was an honour to be able to play in the Euros and be part of the Northern Ireland team."

The 25ft by 10ft artwork funded by the Executive was unveiled by the star.

Having a ball: Local children met NI international Josh Magennis at the unveiling for a new mural in his honour

Having a ball: Local children met NI international Josh Magennis at the unveiling for a new mural in his honour

He added: "I come home as often as I can and it was great to see my former school teachers, friends and local school children today.

"The advice I gave to them was to follow your dream with hard work and tenacity, as nothing is impossible.

"We have a great deal of talented young sports men and women in Northern Ireland and I have no doubt we will have many more sporting heroes in the future."

Local children were delighted the footballer autographed postcards of the mural.

He also presented Bloomfield Primary School with a signed Irish Football Association (IFA) football.

The school worked with members of the Bloomfield Community Association, young people from the area and the Housing Executive to overhaul an area blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Isobelle Hamilton, from the association, said: "We are delighted to be able to unveil the mural to Bangor's Josh Magennis.

"We listened closely to local residents as to how they wished to improve the appearance of the gable wall at the Bloomfield estate.

"It was agreed that in recognition of the achievements of Josh at Euro 2016, there could be no better tribute for the hometown hero."