Drumbeg and District Residents' Association




Drumbeg News
Vol 3 Issue 1 June 2006
Online edition

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme To Be Launched
Recent criminal activity directed against members of the local community has led the Association to explore the possibility of organising a Neighbourhood Scheme in Drumbeg.
After several meetings with the Community Police in Lisburn, it was agreed to go ahead and develop a scheme for Drumbeg.
What does this mean?
Essentially Neighbourhood Watch means no-one is alone. Your neighbours will look out for you, your family, your home and you will do the same for them.
A Neighbourhood Watch scheme also helps the community to keep a check on people in the area who are more vulnerable. Children and young people, the elderly, and people who have been the victim of a previous burglary or theft.
Watch co-ordinators have been identified for each area of Drumbeg. They will not only act as a means to report suspicious activities or to seek advice from the police. But also as a link to pass on police reports on incidents likely to affect their immediate neighbourhood e.g. burglars in the area, bogus callers or car thieves.
Full information will be distributed shortly. Thanks to all the volunteers without whom this would never have got off the ground.

Cemetery Update May 2006 by Tony Hegarty
Last News Sheet (Oct 2005) we reported that the proposed zoning of land at Drumbeg for a cemetery and crematorium complex within BMAP would only be resolved by a Public Inquiry. We also mentioned that in order to properly represent the community’s position we would need to engage professional expertise to prepare the case .
Our funding appeal had extensive support. This enabled the DRA to appoint on behalf of the community, after a tendering process, Dr. Dale Singleton. He with other specialist appointees, will lead our opposition at the Public Inquiry when and if it happens. Dr. Singleton is a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute with 25 years experience as a Chartered Planner in the public, private and educational sectors. He has acted as an expert witness/advocate at over 400 planning appeals and inquiries in Northern Ireland. Significantly he and his family are residents of the area.
Many of you may think not a lot has happened over the last six months. This is far from the truth, as regular lobbying and meetings have continued behind the scenes to ensure that LCC and BCC are in no doubt of the widespread opposition to the zoning. In addition the Action Group have worked tirelessly in preparing the ground for the Public Enquiry and continue to make representations to all local councillors. The matter has been raised in the House of Commons by our MP Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and of course the BBC included an item on the proposal in its Inside Out programme.
We understand that the BMAP team recently completed their part of this exercise and have passed the relevant information to the Planning Appeals Commission who will be responsible for conducting the Public Inquiry. The next step in this process is that the Commission will contact the objectors.
This will require the completion and return of a pro-forma by all those who wish to sustain their objection. It is critical that everyone maintains their opposition by completing and returning the form when these are distributed. Should you have any difficulty, do not hesitate to contact one of the members of the local Action Group. Please remember that your ‘Agent’ is the Drumbeg Residents’ Association.
The Public Inquiry is expected to be at the end of this year or early 2007.
We will circulate everyone immediately there are any new developments.


Environment Report by Allison Keith

At last we have succeeded in replacing some of the trees which were damaged a few years ago around the Drum Bridge car park. We were lucky enough to arrange with the Ranger at Lagan Valley Regional Park and Grassroots environmental group for some replacements to be delivered on 21st January. A number of local residents spent a couple of hours helping the other volunteers plant a number of trees along with supporting stakes and sheaths. They all appear to be doing well.
We hope that with this extra visibility, the new trees will flourish and eventually encourage more wildlife to our village for our enjoyment.
It was nice to see that some of the daffodils we planted around the car park managed to flower this year despite their traumatic past. I would also like to thank Dept for Culture, Arts and Leisure for having had a quiet word with their grass cutting staff. The spring before last a would-be Michael Schumacher on a ride on mower managed to compost over 1000 bulbs around the car park in a few minutes. To add insult to injury they were in flower at the time! Our requests to take more care appear to have been successful and they mowed round the plants this time. Hopefully with a year to recharge we may have lots of bobbing daffs and narcissi next year.

On 8th April we held our Spring Litter Bust, so thank you to all those who turned out. Unfortunately the weather was atrocious so we decided to postpone until the next day. Apologies again to Jackie Gilmour who was kind enough to offer scones and coffee at Bobby Stewarts for all those taking part. The next morning was much more pleasant, and a group of intrepid residents set off for a couple of hours work to tidy up the village. Sixteen black sacks of rubbish of various kinds were collected from the roads and hedgerows using "litter pickers" lent by Lisburn City Council. Thank you to all who took part, and especially to Peter, who took all that we had collected to the Cutts amenity site.
Please feel free to contact the environmental group with any suggestions you may have to improve our village – we can be contacted via the website www.drumbegresidentsassociation.com or through any committee member.

A Year at Charley Memorial Primary School by Shirley MacWilliam
Charley Memorial wants to thank everyone who contributed clothes etc. to our Bag2School PTA fundraising event in March. We gathered 900kg of clothes to be distributed in Eastern Europe and raised £180 for the school.
During the year the PTA has funded school trips to the Balmoral Show, the Folk and Transport Museum, the Lyric Theatre and the pottery café, Paint Me Glaze Me in Holywood. Pupils have also been as far and wide as Tayto Castle, Stormont and Tesco in Dunmurry!
Charley might be small but it is very busy. Recently pupils have taken part in the national reading and radio broadcast of Narnia; they have won awards in national science and writing competitions (Sentinus Science and ICT, and Playground Poets); and, at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex in March, Charley raised £227 - more than any other local school - in the national Swimathon for NCH (the childrens' charity) and have won the Schools' Cup.
As to our future - the SEELB Property Services Committee recently voted to pursue the amalgamation of Charley, Lambeg, Drumbo and Hillhall with a new school on the Drumbeg Road. All the schools are strongly in support of this. We are concerned now that this plan be pursued by the Board, the Department of Education and the planners. You might be asked soon to sign a petition in favour of the new school ­ this is to show widespread support for a local rural school. The fear is that in these times of financial pressure our long awaited amalgamation may be shelved and all the schools unceremoniously closed. It would be a terrible loss to have no school in such a large rural area.

Senior Citizens' Outing
Preparations are almost complete for this years Senior Citizens' Outing. This outing has become an annual fixture in the Community Associations calendar of events and seems to be eagerly anticipated each year. We have an increasing number of elderly and retired people resident in the area—and some of us are catching up fast! Old age brings with it the opportunity to take the pedal off the gas, having with any luck launched the ‘youngsters’ on a rising curve of success and independence (Okay so there are always a few Mummy's boys out there!). Suddenly there is the opportunity for increased leisure time, be that pottering in the garden, globe trotting or heaven forbid yet another round of golf. Old age is not however without its downside. It can also be the harbinger of ill health, infirmity and the heartbreak of bereavement. These can lead to a disconnection from friends and family and a sense of isolation. Drumbeg as a community offers a wide variety of opportunities to maintain contact with old friends and make new ones. St. Patrick's Church supports a selection of very successful Clubs and Societies to cater for diverse tastes and interests and all ages. The Association has tried to do its bit this year with a series of events from Tea Dances to Armchair Aerobics Classes.
As usual the Senior Citizens' Outing culminates the Association’s calendar of spring events and is already well subscribed. However there are still places to be had for those of you who haven't decided yet.
Where are we headed this year? Well we have arranged a double header for you all to enjoy. With the help of some members of Lisburn City Council we have been able to arrange a tour of the parliament building at Stormont. This will be followed by lunch at Castlereagh Golf Club. In the afternoon the party will visit the acclaimed Somme Centre near Clandeboye Estate. It promises to be a splendid day out.

Remember: Inside every older person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.

Did you know: The Somme Heritage Centre is The Somme Association's flagship project. Situated adjacent to the Clandeboye Estate outside Newtownards, the Centre is a unique visitor attraction of international significance showing the awful reality of the Great War, and its effects on the community at home.
The centre commemorates the involvement of the 36th (Ulster) and 16th (Irish) Divisions in the Battle of the Somme, the 10th (Irish) Division in Gallipoli, Salonika and Palestine and provides displays and information on the entire Irish contribution to the First World War. The centre promotes cross-community contact, mutual understanding, an appreciation of cultural diversity, and is a major visitor attraction.
Did you know: To camouflage Stormont during World War II the building's Portland stone was painted with supposedly removable "paint" made of bitumen and cow manure. However, after the war, removing the paint proved an enormous difficulty, with the paint having scarred the stonework. It took seven years to remove the "paint", and the exterior facade has never regained its original white colour. While most traces of it were removed from the facades (though having done damage that can be seen up close) some of the remains of the paint survive in the inner courtyards and unseen parts of the place.

Youth Club. A resounding success.
Shortly after Christmas St. Patrick’s Church launched a Youth Club for the young members of the community, a group that has been sadly neglected in the past. This was very much experimental because despite having circulated the local community for its views it was uncertain whether there was a real demand or not. The answer is now very clear. The Club ran in the Hall every Saturday evening up until the Easter school break and gained a widespread popularity with all the children who came along. Activities went from dance mats to indoor football! 15-20 children attended regularly and appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves. It all culminated with a very successful B-B-Q. Thanks must go to Lance Owens (Church Warden) and other church members. Without Lance’s unswerving faith in the project, it would never have got off the ground.
Anyone interested in helping next year contact the Church or DRA.

Not a Million Miles Away by Elizabeth Rice
While on holiday recently, I decided to go for a walk along a riverside. It was a golden evening – you know the sort – when the sun casts that pink gold light over everything, making the landscape seem almost magical … a bit like being at the end of a schmaltzy Hollywood film!
As I walked along the riverbank, the first thing to hit me was the heady smell of Wild Garlic. It’s quite a sweet smell and just hits the senses every few steps. Nestling beside the random patches of that white flowery plant were bunches of vibrant yellow Marsh Marigolds and the paler yellow Celandine. Further along, dotted here and there, was Lady’s Smock, that beautiful pale delicate flower whose colour can only be described as a blushing white.
Lords and Ladies were waiting to come out and beside them were the first shoots of Himalayan Balsam – another of those Victorian imports which include Rhododendrons, Azaleas – mostly all pink by the way! Another pink wildflower to look out for in July is Rosebay Willow Herb … tall, spiky and beautiful which grows alongside our roads as well as riverbanks.
But where was I? Not in lush rural England, or walking the hillsides of Austria but along the towpath in Drumbeg. We often forget just how fantastic our own places are. The towpath has everything you could want in a rural walk.
Further along the path I sat down on one of the benches and just listened. In the early part of the morning or evening your ears will be swamped with birdsong … blackcap, songthrush, the sharp loud call of the tiny robin, the warm throaty call of the wood pigeon, so redolent of Summer and of course, the raucous rooks.
It really is a feast of music accompanied by the gentle rush of wind through the trees and the river running alongside – perfect Wind in the Willows (if only we had toads, water rats and moles!)
But the biggest treats are the bigger mammals and animals. Imagine my absolute delight when I spotted the bright-eyed, whiskered face of an otter! Yes, an otter. It swam lazily alongside the banks, dipping and diving and occasionally blinking up at me. Then it swam off and sadly, I haven’t seen it since. However the towpath has other wildlife .. rabbits, the increasingly rare red squirrels, foxes and the crème de la crème, the jewelled turquoise flash of a kingfisher. If you hang around the bridge at Newforge you’ll have a good chance of spotting them. But it is just a flash out of the corner of your eye – but what a spectacular blue.
So forget exotic places; walk along that path where, not that long ago, horses pulled barges filled with cargo for Belfast; where lockkeepers, blacksmiths and linen barons all plied their trade, on or around that pathway which is still there for all of us.


Art Show—Colourful Success by BD
The Drumbeg Art Club held its 5th Annual Exhibition of Painting recently in the Church Hall. This hugely popular event again drew a steady stream of visitors over its two days. Around 200 having come through the doors by its close. The talent and ability of our local amateur artists is the envy of those of us who don’t know one end of a paint brush from the other except if its got white gloss on it. Twenty-three club members contributed over a hundred entries to the show. The standard was very high and the exhibition included works in diverse styles on a wide variety of themes. Almost forty of the works were sold during the exhibition. Framed prints of original oils, illustrated notelets and cards on sale, also went like hot cakes. Charley Memorial School pupils had a splendid display of their work. Well done to all the children. The Exhibition raised nearly £500 for the Parish Church and its Cairo Hospital Appeal, donated by the artists from the proceeds of the event. As usual it was a happy occasion for all those who attended, spending time enjoying the display and the chat over tea and coffee. See you again next year.

Vol 3 Issue 1 June 2006


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