THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: From the News Letter of December 1955

Newtownards gets ready for the year 2000

By Darryl Armitage
Friday, 18th December 2020, 10:00 am
In December 1988 George Best was back home in Belfast to receive the £75,000 handshake from his Testimonial Committee. The magnificent amount was raised in a fitting tribute from the Northern Ireland soccer public to one of their favourites sons, regarded worldwide as one of the greatest footballers of all time. The money was to be invested in a trust fund as a long-term benefit for George and his son Calum. Pictured with George at the handing-over ceremony are, front, left to right, David Crawford, Richard Best, George's father, Derek Wade, John Smedley. Centre, Martin Lunney, Richard Briers, Ivan Marshall, George Keenan, Malcolm Brodie. Back, Knox Morrison, Billy Kennedy, Billy Braden, Billy McCoubrey and Jim Boyce. Picture: News Letter archives
In December 1988 George Best was back home in Belfast to receive the £75,000 handshake from his Testimonial Committee. The magnificent amount was raised in a fitting tribute from the Northern Ireland soccer public to one of their favourites sons, regarded worldwide as one of the greatest footballers of all time. The money was to be invested in a trust fund as a long-term benefit for George and his son Calum. Pictured with George at the handing-over ceremony are, front, left to right, David Crawford, Richard Best, George's father, Derek Wade, John Smedley. Centre, Martin Lunney, Richard Briers, Ivan Marshall, George Keenan, Malcolm Brodie. Back, Knox Morrison, Billy Kennedy, Billy Braden, Billy McCoubrey and Jim Boyce. Picture: News Letter archives

Speaking at the annual dinner of the Newtownards Chamber of Trade this week in 1955, the Mayor of Newtownards, Captain J McMorran, said that a problem facing the town was population, and for the purpose of schemes, especially in connection with water and sewerage, the borough council had endeavoured to anticipate the population of the borough in the year 2,000.

Mr McMorran said: “That is no easy matter. But at least we cannot be accused of lack of foresight.”

Replying to the toast of the government of Northern Ireland Mr W M May, MP, said that he did not believe that it would be possible to hand the UTA [Ulster Transport Authority] passenger service back to private enterprise without “a serious reduction in the services at present being given to unremunerative areas”.

Plenty of things were moving in Belvoir Forest Park in December 1988. Keeper of the forest shop, Ann Milligan, left, had little trouble in showing off this specimen's symmetry to Stuart Harvey and sister Rosemary of Belfast. It was to end up decorated for nephew William Dunwoody. Picture: News Letter archives

However, he said that he did not think the same considerations applied to the freight services, “whose charges are so high that more and more lorries are being operated by private traders for their own purpose”.

He added: “It is not a criticism of the government when I suggest that the time is overdue for reassessment their transport policy and obligations.”

The president of the Chamber, Mr C J Stewart, presided, and at his request a period of silence was observed for the late Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne who had been killed in a road accident in the town earlier that week.

Other speakers included Councillor A Edgar.

One of Northern Ireland relatively unsung heroes of fundraising was to deserve some of the recognition he deserved when he was to travel to London in December 1988 reported the News Letter. Mr William Young of Roddens Crescent in Belfast had been chosen as the NI winner of the Webb Ivory Fundraiser of the Year competition. The News Letter reported that Mr Young had been collecting for the Northern Ireland Council for Orthopaedic Development for more than 38 years. NICO director Mrs Thelma Greeves said of Mr Young: “We felt that William Young deserved some acknowledgement for the great fundraising which has done for NICOD over the last 38 years.” Mr Young had collected more than £8,000 in 1987 and had equalled it in 1988. He said he had raised more than £100,000 since he began. Mr Young, who received the British Empire Medal four years previously, had also won praise for his window cleaning skills – he cleans about 60 a month for NICOD. He said he had decided to help the organisation after seeing the plight o

Belmont celebrate seventh year as top Legion branch

The Belmont branch of the British Legion this week in December 1955 celebrated its seventh year as the premier of the 8,000 branches of the Legion in the British Isles.

Many of the 300 members attended an anniversary supper in their hall at Belmont Church Hall, Belfast, and the occasion was marked by the presentation of the Haig Cup.

The News Letter reported: “Belmont is only the third Northern Ireland branch to win the trophy since Earl Haig presented it in 1922. Belfast won it in 1943 and Enniskillen in 1945.”

Stamp of approval: Belfast Lord Mayor Nigel Dodds presents a copy of the Comber Letter – which went from Co Down to Derry in 1688 and warned of an uprising – to Apprentice Boys Belfast secretary Hugh Pollock, watched by ex-Belfast chairman Sam Devlin. This photograph appeared in an edition of the News Letter in December 1988. Picture: News Letter archives

The cup was handed over to Mr E E McCallion, branch president, by Sir Norman Stronge. president of the Northern Ireland Area of the Legion.

About 150 passengers escaped injury in October 1989 when their train was derailed in east Belfast. The train, travelling from Bangor to Belfast Central and then on to Lisburn, had just left Sydenham halt when the accident occurred. A Northern Ireland Railways spokesman said no one was hurt in the incident. Arrangements were made for passengers to continue their journey, and an accident and investigation team was tasked to the scene, as can be seen in this photograph. The spokesperson for the railway company said that the train had left the halt and was gathering speed when it left the track but that it had not been travelling “particularly fast”. Picture: News Letter archives