A MARCH was staged through Belfast city centre yesterday ahead of the UN’s international day of peace today.
The procession, estimated to be roughly 100-strong, also coincided with an annual awards ceremony inside the City Hall for the charity Springboard Opportunities, which runs training and support schemes for disadvantaged youngsters.
Outside the hall, where the marchers had congregated, an inflatable cinema was up and running.
Resembling a kind of spongy red tent, it had blow-up seats inside where visitors could sit and watch a 45 minute film on the subject of peace.
Inside about 150 people assembled for Springboard Inspiration Awards — and among those receiving one was rock drummer Jonny Quinn from the group Snow Patrol.
He was a past recipient of the charity’s largesse, having done an enterprise course when he was about 23 which led him to start putting on concerts for rock bands. It was through this he got acquainted with members of a band called Shrug — which ultimately morphed into Snow Patrol.
Originally from Bangor but now living in London the 42-year-old father-of-one, whose son is called Thor, told The News Letter: “They call me an ‘inspiration’. If it helps anyone start a band and stick at it, that’s good thing.”
Also receiving an award was Oscar Knox, the young boy whose public battle with cancer was reported in The News Letter and elsewhere.
Accepting it on his behalf was Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes, who said: “As true as I stand here today, Oscar was on my mind throughout my training, and in London.”
There were speeches given on the topic of peace by the Lord Mayor of Belfast and community worker Jackie Redpath, and accolades were also given to two troubled young men who had turned their lives around — Stefan Sloan and Michael Blaney.