From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 10, 2001

From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 10, 2001

6 October 2021

NEWCASTLE — A major new drive has been launched to attract private investment in a planned multi-million pound facelift for Newcastle.

Down Council is targeting a host of major private firms in a bid to interest them in investing in a major redevelopment of the entire seafront of the town, from the Slieve Donard to Newcastle harbour.

A new brochure detailing the council’s plans for the town has been produced and is being circulated to a large number of firms, other funding sources and statutory agencies.

Blueprints for the improvement scheme, which has received support from both the council and the Newcastle 2000 group, were revealed last year.

The plan consists of three stages — from the Downs Road car park to Castle Bridge, between the Newcastle Centre and Pattons Bridge and the third section which involves creating a new promenade to the harbour.

The document outlines plans to regenerate Newcastle and make it a top tourist destination.

DOWNPATRICK — The development of a new multi-screen cinema in Downpatrick would provide the perfect kick-start to a major economic regeneration initiative in the town, it has been claimed.

Downpatrick councillor, Peter Craig, who has been one of the driving forces behind the push for a new cinema made his comments three weeks after plans to develop a new cinema at Dunleath Park were abandoned by Down Council.

The local authority admitted the ambitious proposal earmarked for land adjacent to the Down Leisure Centre had fallen victim to legal and financial problems.

However, it hopes the multi-million pound complex can be developed at an alternative site elsewhere in the town centre and be up and running within the next few years.

CASTLEWELLAN — Firefighters tackled a blaze at a farmyard on the outskirts of Castlewellan last week.

The blaze, at Wood Road, was discovered at around 5.30am last Friday when a passing postman alerted the farmer that one of his barns was on fire.

Two crews of firemen from Newcastle and a third from Rathfriland were called to the scene and fought the fire in the barn, which contained 300 round bales of straw.

A second adjoining shed, which had 100 tonnes of silage stored in it, also went on fire and although the first barn was destroyed, the structure of the second was saved.

Station officer Nevin Donaghy explained that although no animals or humans were hurt, their efforts at fighting the fire were hampered as the nearest hydrant was over one mile away from the farmyard.

CROSSGAR — No toys, few clothes and little food – local schoolchildren yesterday discovered first hand what life is like in a community with nothing.

From a world that is void of any luxuries and running short on basic necessities, African visitors from Malawi, brought their gift of song to St Joseph’s Primary School in Crossgar.

Nine representatives from a primary school, a hospital and a church of the Embangweni Station sang Malawian songs and shared stories about their home with the pupils.

With the aim of the visit to share cultures the visitors were offered Irish stew and watched the pupils perform Irish dancing.

The school children were amazed to hear how their guests had never been on a plane, boat or train before and how they only earn around £100 a year.

School principal, Mr Harry Murray, said he was delighted to have the visitors at the school so his students could hear for themselves just how difficult life is for people across the world.

DRUMANESS — Local politicians have this week been accused of portraying a negative image of the district and hampering future inward investment.

The damning claim has been made by Rowallane councillor Eddie Rea, who secured a seat on the local authority just over three months ago.

Mr Rea believes recent comments by some politicians about the plan to extend the Thales Air Defence base near Drumaness, which employs 50 people, sends out the message that investors are not welcome in Down District.

And he is also concerned about comments by various politicians about the proposals by mobile telephone companies to extend their various networks across the district.

Although the defence company’s headquarters are in Belfast, the Loughmann base is used as a final assembly plant for its products and Mr Rea said the recent comments about the facility by SDLP councillors Patsy Toman and Margaret Ritchie “portray a negative image of the area.”

He claimed both councillors asked for a decision to approve expansion work at the plant to be deferred on “hearsay evidence” and suggested they never checked what he described as the “real facts of the case.”

KILLYLEAGH — A £35m plan to build over 350 new homes in Killyleagh has received a major boost from local people.

Local planners were last week presented with a petition containing 1,600 signatures in support of the controversial development at the Gocean.

The plan to develop a 35-acre site, including a new marina, has split public opinion in the town, but local community worker Billy Walker said he believes an increasing number of people are now backing what is one of the biggest ever private investment schemes in the district.

In March, planning officials confirmed a public inquiry would not be ordered into the project being spearheaded by Ravenblack Developments, which is also proposing to provide a new cafe, craft and chandlery shop and a mill house.

It is understood local planners, who are currently examining the detail of the plan, could make their decision before the end of the year.

The developers say they are confident the scheme will significantly raise the profile of Killyleagh as a tourist destination and add support to existing town facilities such as shops, entertainment, recreational facilities, schools and churches.

SAINTFIELD — Dozens of brides arrived at Second Saintfield Presbyterian Church Hall on Thursday evening for a girls’ night out.

There was a distinct absence of grooms as women and girls filled the hall for a wedding dress fashion show to raise money for the cancer research.

Tables were decorated and guests were seated, as 30 models went backstage to get ready for a show.

As the brides made their way along the catwalk, wedding tales recalling generations of local brides emerged.

The compere told the story of one local woman who had left her husband waiting at the altar for half-an-hour because her cat was having kittens, while other young women, modelling their mothers’ and grandmothers’ dresses, told their own family tales.

DERRYBOYE — Managing a successful PR consultancy and travelling to the far side of the world to adopt her “little angel”, has helped to make a Derryboye woman’s life complete.

Rosemary Hamilton seems to thrive off her busy lifestyle and the fact she and her husband, Terry Graham, adopted a baby girl from China three years ago.

Rosemary, who is the co-founder and now chairman of Holywood-based Future Image PR consultancy firm, and her husband were one of the first families from Northern Ireland to adopt a child from China.

As Rosemary explained, she has had a long love affair with China and its people, ever since she heard a woman recite the Lord’s Prayer in Chinese when she was at Sunday School.

Her fondness of the country continued into her adult years, she travelled quite a bit throughout China and Asia, and when she and Terry married they automatically thought of adopting a child from the country.