From the pages of the Down Recorder, May 9, 1978

From the pages of the Down Recorder, May 9, 1978

9 May 2018

NEWCASTLE — The long arm of the law took a hand to put the brakes on a magician’s spectacular demonstration in Newcastle on Saturday.

When the police realised what the top magician Emile Wann was planning for his audience on the promenade they decided it was too dangerous to let him go ahead.

And no wonder. For the great Emile was proposing to get his shapely assistant, Hilary Thompson, to drive a sports car from the bandstand into Donard Park blindfolded.

Emile’s aim was to tell Hilary how to steer the car by directing powerful thought waves into her mind.

The stunt has already been tried several times in other countries, but never in Ireland, and never with a woman at the wheel of the car.

A small crowd of passers-by looked on in amazement as he had Hilary blindfolded and led into the waiting sports car while he explained what he proposed to do.

That was enough for local police who decided that speeding cars being driven by blindfolded women were just too big a risk for Newcastle’s traffic.

However, the spectators weren’t completely disappointed. Later on in the morning Emile and Hilary were allowed to give their amazing demonstration, but this time in the safety of Donard Park.

A crowd of over 40 watched as the blindfolded Hilary steered the car in and out of a line of police bollards, only knocking one of them over.

And there was even better to come when she drove the car straight at Emile from a distance of about 200 yards, only turning away at the last moment.

So how does he do it? According to Emile, it’s all in the mind.

DOWNPATRICK — There was a full turnout of Downpatrick firemen on Wednesday night for the section’s annual inspection.

As always, the men were kept on their toes as they went on parade and carried out their practice manoeuvres. As usual, the men maintained their high standards and were praised for their appearance and efficiency by the inspecting officers.

This year the inspection was carried out by Deputy Chief Office Sydney Pollock, Senior Division Officer Douglas and Station Officer Neeson, all of headquarters staff in Lisburn.

The Downpatrick crew were the first section in B Division to undergo inspection. It was Newcastle’s turn after that and next Tuesday the Ballynahinch section will be on parade.

PORTAFERRY — A man who was injured in a bomb explosion in Portaferry two years ago was awarded £440 damages at Newtownards Court on Monday.

John Francis Murray, of Dickson Park, Ballygowan, was injured in the explosion at the International Bar in Church Street on June 5, 1976.

Mr Murray, who had been manager of the bar at the time of the attack, said a wall beside him in the upstairs lounge collapsed and he received a cut on his head. He added that he was unemployed for six months after the explosion and eventually obtained a building job in Crossgar.

Mr Murray’s counsel said that three other members of his client’s family were injured in the attack in which one person was killed.

Judge James Brown said that he sympathised with Mr Murray and his family and hoped that the “blackguards” who attacked the bar would eventually be caught.

“This man has had a dreadful and most unenviable experience and must get reasonable compensation,” he said.

The court heard that a compensation settlement had been reached with another victim of the explosion, Mr Anthony McMullan, of The Square, Portaferry, who had recently been granted agreed damages of £8,700.

CASTLEWELLAN — Pupils at St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan have handed over a cheque for £2,500 to aid relief work in the Third World.

The fund-raising, which was organised and supervised by the school’s sixth form committee, included novel events such as sponsored silences, spelling competitions and a basketball tournament.

The school principal, Mr Patrick McAleenan,described the achievement as “remarkable”, but the sixth formers say the massive figure could not have been achieved without the support and encouragement of the teaching staff.

St Malachy’s has a proud record of raising money for the Third World. Last year the school notched up the admirable total of £1,500 and this year the students set their target at £2,000.

STRANGFORD — A Strangford mother has launched a one-woman campaign against Ulsterbus, who, she claims, do not provide an adequate school bus service for her children.

Mrs Romayne Whyte, of The Barn, Castleward, says that Ulsterbus give no notification when they withdraw the school bus from Downpatrick to Strangford on certain days.

“My two children, who are aged six and eight and attend Down High School, had to stand in the rain for half an hour on Thursday afternoon waiting for a bus which had been withdrawn,” she said.

“It was a holy day and schoolchildren from St Mary’s and St Joseph’s were on holiday — and Ulsterbus decided to withdraw the bus without telling anyone. This has happened several times.”

“Obviously I was very worried about my children and did not know why it took them so long to get home. I have contacted the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and have an appointment with their solicitor. I am not resting until I get satisfaction.

“The bus company are asking for trouble. Down High School pupils are beginning to feel that some sort of vendetta is being waged against them.”

DUNDRUM — An Army technical officer was called to Manse Road, Dundrum, yesterday to deal with an old hand grendade which had been found.

The grenade fell from the roof of a house when a man was making repairs. It rolled on to the road, but did not explode. The technical officer was called and exploded the device safely.

KILLINCHY — A herd of Friesian cattle have been found wandering on land at Ballymorran, near Killinchy. Seven cattle were found wandering on land belonging to Mr John Sherard, Upper Ballymorran Road, for the past two weeks, while another 12 were found on land belonging to Mr Lamont, of Ballymorran.

DROMARA — The pupils of St Michael’s Primary School, Dromara, won’t be worrying if anyone calls their fund-raising efforts ‘scrappy’.

For the past two months they have been busy collecting old scrap metal to raise money to buy a minibus. Old cars, broken farm machinery — anything they could lay their hands on — the kids collected and sold to a scrap merchant.

Their efforts have paid off and already they have raised £1,000 towards the cost of their minibus.

ARDGLASS — Ladies from Downpatrick WI and visiting Wives Club were guests at the May meeting of Ardglass Women’s Institute.

The speaker was the broadcaster, Mr Sean Rafferty, entertained the meeting with an amusing account of happenings on his early morning programme. The competition for ‘My Ideal Hiusband’ was won by Mrs V McMechan, who was also rewarded with a kiss from Sean.

BALLYGOWAN — The Housing Executive has denied claims that there is a need for more houses in Ballygowan. This week a spokesman for the Executive assured Ards Borough Council that the building programme for the village would cope with future demand.

He pointed out that there area 40 people on the waiting list in Ballygowan, with 25 new homes currently under construction and another 25 planned to begin in March 1980. “This would appear to more than meet the existing demand,” the spokesman added.