From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 8, 1980

From the pages of the Down Recorder, January 8, 1980

8 January 2020

BALLYNAHINCH — A plan to spruce-up Ballynahinch Square has been agreed between the Department of the Environment and the owners.

It is expected to cost somewhere in the region of £10,000, which will be shared equally between the Department and the Ker Estate, with Down Council acting as agents. It was confirmed this week that an offer of grant aid had been made by the Department and had been agreed in principle.

The work will be done under an Environmental Improvement Spruce-Up Scheme and is aimed at giving the area a badly-needed facelift. Department officials are insisting that work begins before March 31, otherwise they will withdraw grant aid.

“There’s a limit to the money and it’s not an elaborate scheme, but we’re hoping it will leave the centre of Ballynahinch in a more acceptable manner, a spokesman for the Department said.

The whole square will be resurfaced and drained and a low wall is to be built all around, with vehicle and pedestrian access points.

To coincide with the facelift, Department officials, in conjunction with the town’s Chamber of Trade, are appealing to owners of property in the square to carry out facelifts to their own buildings.

“There’s not much point in brightening up the square if people do not take a civic pride, but perhaps if we start the work others will he more amenable to doing something,” the spokesman added.

DOWNPATRICK — A £130,000 contract has been finalised this week for the building of new squash courts, with changing and recreational facilities, in Downpatrick.

The new complex is an extension to existing facilities at the De La Salle schools’ campus where the sports club already enjoys the use of facilities for badminton and other indoor sports.

Work is due to commence later this month by local firm Messrs Hugh J O’Boyle Ltd, who have been awarded the contract, and it is hoped to have the project fully operational before Christmas this year.

Announcing the details at a regular meeting of the La Salle Union Past Pupils Association, the president, Mr Michael Hamill, thanked the De La Salle community and the Department of Education for their financial support.

He stated that the complex would be available to all members or the local community and hoped that this would encourage many past pupils of all the De La Salle schools to renew their association with the past pupils’ union.

BINS — Down Council clerk Mr Seamus Byrne has publicly apologised for the “most inefficient” bin collection service in the district during the past fortnight.

Mr Byrne admitted this week that most areas in Down District are two days behind schedule, but he promised that every attempt was being made to bring the service up to date.

He explained to a meeting of councillors that there had been number of problems with men of sick and with breakdowns in the council’s fleet of lorries.

One of the biggest problems, said Mr Byrne, was finding drivers for the lorries because a number of men had refused to do overtime. “The men are not obliged to do overtime and we cannot force them,” he explained.

Mr Byrne said all vehicles were on the road last weekend with the exception of one lorry in Downpatrick and he promised that all lorries would be in operation throughout this week.

When quizzed by several councillors on a collection rota to clear the backlog, Mr Byrne stressed it would be nearly impossible to say what was going to happen in each area.

“I apologise for the most inefficient service, but every attempt is being made to put it in order,” he added.

FARMING — The total agricultural labour force in Co Down stands at 13,635 — the second highest in the province. The figure is contained in the agricultural census on the province, compiled by the Department of Agriculture and published this week.

The total labour force is just 282 short of the labour force in Tyrone, the largest in the province. A breakdown of the total figure shows that the total workforce, excluding owners and their wives, is 4,405 in Co Down.

The census also reveals there are 7,862 owners, partners and directors on Co Down farms and a breakdown of this figure shows that farming locally is still very much male dominated.

Co Down farmers have traditionally required more seasonal or casual workers than elsewhere, with 1,257 being taken on in 1979. Other figures contained in the report include 1,119 full-time family workers, 843 part-time family workers, 811 full-time hired workers and 375 part-time hired workers in Co Down.

NEWCASTLE — The death has taken place in Cranborne, Victoria, Australia, of Father George Todd, formerly of Newcastle.

Father Todd was ordained in All Hallows College, Dublin, in 1945 and celebrated his first Mass in St Mary’s Church, Newcastle, on June 25 of that year.

While he was awaiting his call to Australia he was appointed assistant curate in Castlewellan where the late Dean C McKenna was the PP.

In 1946 Fr Todd went to Australia and 32 years later he returned home on his first visit. He is survived by a sister and brother, who also reside in Australia.

KILLINCHY — Former Killinchy man Norman McMordie has won the Young Farmers’ Clubs farm management competition.

Norman, who received a travel bursary from the Northern Bank as his prize, is no stranger to success in farming circles. Last year he won two top awards and finished third in another major competition.

Now 24, Norman will be able to put his skills to good use on his father’s farm at Ballygowan. His father is a well known breeder of pedigree polled Hereford and Simmental bulls and Norman helps out on the farm at weekends and on holidays.

He moved to the Banbridge area due to work commitments as a sales development representative with Richardson’s Fertilisers. Before that he was a member of Killinchy YFC.

COMBER — A 25 year-old Comber girl, Libby Smyth, who is playing Fairy Lethargia in the current production of Mother Goose at the Arts Theatre in Befast, is really pulling in the pantomime fans.

During rehearsals someone suggested Libby should try impersonating the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. She did and it has now become one for the most popular features of the show. Libby’s updated and light-hearted Thatcherisms have the audience rolling in their seats.

KILLYLEAGH — Killyleagh was the venue last night for a big training night for Scout leaders. The event in the Shore Street youth hall is one of a number organised for Scout leaders in Co Down this month.

The training programme is being co-ordinated by Scout headquarters, with the new county commissioner, Mr Clive Scoular, doing much of the groundwork.

Last night was the turn of the Beaver leaders, with the district commissioner, Mr Harry Galbraith, from Downpatrick, and the assistant county commissioner (Beavers), Teresa Savage, introducing the activities.

SAINTFIELD — Mr David Napier, of Belfast Road, Saintfield, has won £200 in a competition organised by Dromona Butter. David, a schoolteacher at Bangor Grammar School, answered six questions relating to butter and supplied a slogan. He was presented with a £200 cheque for his efforts.

DRUMANESS — A flock of sheep were attacked by dogs at Crawfordstown Road, Drumaness, last Thursday in the latest sheep worrying outbreak to hit the area. Six sheep were worried, but fortunately only one was seriously injured.

KILKEEL — A Kilkeel man who has been honorary secretary of the town’s branch of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for 21 years is to be rewarded with a gold badge for devoted service.

Mr Cecil Baxter is to receive the badge, there highest the RNLI can offer, at the annual presentation of RNLI awards in the Royal Festival Hall, London, in May.