Drumbeg Community Association


Drumbeg News

Vol 2 Issue 1 March 2005 Online edition

The Tea Dance - A potted history
Tea has been at the very heart of people's lives ever since it first became affordable to the masses, whether for comfort during wartime, or as a simple sign of hospitality offered in homes throughout the country to signify a warm welcome.
Between the two World Wars, tea could be enjoyed in your seat during the interval at the afternoon picture show. As part of the afternoon thé dansant, tea was a popular ice-breaker in hotels (and Lyons Corner Houses) up and down the country, where it was an unmissable fixture for singles or groups looking for a pleasantly innocuous way to engage the attention of the opposite sex.
Although these tea dances owe their initial popularity to the 'scandalous' Argentine tango, their wider promotion in exclusive venues like Bond Street's Four Hundred Club paved the way for acceptance by a broader section of 'Society'. It wasn't long before people flocked to The Savoy hotel in search of the ultimate in good taste, style and sophistication. Participants dined at tables beautifully set with the hotel's hallmark pink tablecloths and le thé Russe was elegantly presented by a Russian expert - with menus printed in French to ensure that the appropriate tone was maintained.
As a nation, we began to see the consumption of tea decline in the 70s when novelty and aggressive marketing saw coffee staking a claim to become Britain's most popular hot beverage. So, who would have thought that tea-dancing could still draw the crowds in such a `sophisticated' era? Yet nostalgia - combined with a yearning for a more leisurely past - is beginning to see a revival of the pastime. Today, its renaissance can be enjoyed from the grandest of London hotels to a humble community centre in South Wales, where the dance music is lovingly recreated on a magnificent 'Christie' Wurlitzer organ rescued from a 1930s cinema and tea is made by local ladies. One lump or two?

Get on those dancing shoes!
We all know that we don't do enough exercise. We always find an excuse to avoid that breath of fresh air, because its too cold or it might rain or Emmerdale is coming on the box. This becomes an increasing problem as we reach our middle or later years when sadly the sedentary lifestyle sets in big time! Indeed it may happen a lot sooner - there are wives in Drumbeg who insist it happened to their husbands shortly after they were wed! Well salvation is at hand. The community association cannot sit idly by and watch its citizens turn into couch potatoes. Instead we have come up with a grand plan. Community dances and Tea dances were once a centerpiece of community life and unmissable events in the social calendar. So we are giving you all the chance to strut your stuff and rediscover those toes you haven't seen for a year or three.
The Tea Dance will take place this Saturday (2nd April) starting at 2.00pm. It is being held in the Parochial Hall. We have been fortunate indeed to have Elsie Vance to compere the event and music will be provided by Houston.
In tandem with the dancing the event is intended to promote healthy eating and steps to a better quality of life for everyone. We hope to have a few experts on hand to advise anyone interested on everything from nutrition and exercise, through safety in the home, home security, to stress relief.
The event is free to all and refreshments, including of course a nice wee cup of tea, will be provided. Everyone is welcome but we would like to particularly encourage those in the community who are less able to get out as much as they would like. It is an opportunity for everyone to meet old friends and have a chat - even if they are not Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers. The Association can provide transport for anyone who may have difficulty getting to and from the event. Come and join us for dancing, renewal of old friendships and a lot of fun. Don't miss this social occasion and a chance to keep fit to enjoyable music. All Welcome.

Other News
It now looks unlikely that the Fast Food outlet that threatened the peace and quiet of Drum Bridge will get planning permission. However there is a salutary warning in this affair. Despite all the vocal complaints to the Association the Planning Service actually only received about thirty letters of opposition. Can we remind everyone that we remain a watchdog and facilitator for local concerns about planning but at the end of the day it is stiII those individual representations which are the main weapon in staving off such ill considered or opportunist threats to the identity of the area.
I think everyone recognizes the wonderful job the Rivers Authority have done in the remodeling of the Car Park. It would have shameful to see it covered in chip papers!

Supercemetery Buried? Dead Wrong! by Tony Hegarty
Following the publication of the Draft BMAP proposals in November 2004 this community showed its opposition to the planned siting of a cemetery/crematorium at Drumbeg. Nearly one thousand letters of objection were lodged.
The action group set up to fight this proposal have intensively lobbied Lisburn City Council who have since withdrawn from a proposed joint venture with Belfast City Council for cemetery provision and have lodged an official objection to the planned Drumbeg cemetery site.
A response from the BMAP team, in relation to this matter is not expected until the end of April as it is but one of a myriad of objections returned to BMAP after the publication of the draft proposals. Regarding the cemetery proposal itself BMAP will contact Belfast City Council and ask them for their comments following the overwhelming level of local objection to the proposal. There could then be a further period of eight weeks before any decision will be taken whether the matter should be progressed to a Public Enquiry. However it is ominous that Belfast City Council show no signs of voluntarily withdrawing the proposal of Drumbeg as the cemetery site at this stage. The community association is currently working on the scenario that we will fight the issue through a Public Enquiry.
Since late January we have been engaged in gathering details of Council Meetings and other information in preparation for developing a case for submission to an Enquiry should it take place. We have also sought some preliminary professional advice.
All the members of Lisburn Council have been contacted and requested to sign an unequivocal letter of support of our objection to the cemetery proposal. Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and his potential challenger in the next General Election Basil McCrea have also been approached. The letter reads:
"I confirm that, should I be elected on 5th May 2005, I will give unambiguous, sustained and timely support to the Drumbeg/Lagan Valley Campaign against the Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan proposal to zone land for Belfast City Council Cemetery/Crematorium at the designated site at Drumbeg."
As soon as we have more information about the progress of the BMAP deliberations this will be communicated to the community. We also intend to elaborate in some detail a number of important issues including possible costs and funding options if we must fight a Public Enquiry. An information night is planned to gather local opinion and views and chart a way forward.
Make no mistake we may have gained the upper hand in the first battle to protect our community from what can only be described as a violation. But the war is far from won. This is a community fight and it is only with the wholehearted support and commitment of the community we have any hope of succeeding.
The Association wishes to record its appreciation for all those unsung heroes who have committed so much time and effort on all our behalves to moving this objection forward.

Renowned Local Architect Adds Voice To Drumbeg Protest

Everest conqueror and conservationist Dawson Stelfox has added his voice to the overwhelming opposition to the "supercemetery" proposed for the village of Drumbeg. In an interview with Andrea Clements of the Belfast Telegraph on Friday the award-winning architect said, "The site, which has been proposed for inclusion in the Lagan Valley Regional Park, should be preserved for the recreational use of local people. It would be a change of use from agricultural land to built form and a move away from recreational use. Also, with the volume of traffic it will generate, the roads will change from rural to urban."
He added that the Lagan Valley Regional Park, part of the green belt, has been very well preserved since it was set up in 1967. He feels it should continue to be used for quiet country activities, including walking, cycling, canoeing and fishing. "It will do irreversible damage to the character of the landscape. We very rarely see areas like this. It's one of the best protected and controlled landscapes in Northern Ireland and should remain that way. It's the tightest area in which to get planning permission, which is good, in order to protect the Lagan corridor for the future."


Environmental Group by Alison Keith
Spring Flowers
Spring is now upon us and it is nice to see the fruits of our Autumn labours poking their heads above the soil and giving a lovely show of yellow and purple, brightening up the grassy areas around the village. Most of the daffodils and crocuses that we planted are now coming into bloom and hopefully these will greet us each spring for many years to come.
Sadly our bluebell planting along the bank at St. Patrick's Church met an untimely end having been strimmed down too early last year. We can but try again! And we are doing our best to keep the relevant agencies involved in maintaining our green spaces informed about planting that has been undertaken. Because a lot of this work is contracted out it is not always easy to get the message through! If anyone has any thoughts about areas around Drumbeg that would benefit from bulb or tree planting or would simply like to join in please let me know.
It's vital to recycle
Waste disposal costs hundreds of thousands of pounds each year and uses up acres of space in landfill sites, and it is the duty of each and everyone of us to try and reduce the waste that we produce, to help keep our environment clean and safe for future generations.
Each household disposes and average of 122 kg. of paper every year, and Lisburn City Council aim to recycle as much of this as possible, and have taken an important step by providing all households in the village with green recycling bins as they try to improve their recycling rate and reduce costs. We encourage all members of the community to make the effort to recycle all they can.
Items that can be recycled in these bins include newspapers, magazines, paper, junk mail and computer paper. It is envisaged that further recycling bins will soon be available for other waste, such as glass, plastics and aluminium cans. Until then please do your best to recycle these yourself. This only takes an extra few minutes when doing the shopping, or when out and about, as the recycling centre at The Cutts in Dunmurry is very close.
For more information on recycling telephone the Lisburn Recycling Hotline 0800 092 0246 or visit the Council's website at Litter lifters posed in front of skipwww.lisburncity.gov.uk
Litter Bust
Whilst on the subject of waste disposal a Litter Bust is planned for Saturday 9th of April to give the village a Spring Clean and remove all the rubbish that has accumulated over the winter months. All those interested please meet at the Drum Bridge Car Park at 10.00 am, pickers, gloves and collection bags will be provided. A warming cup of tea and scones will be provided in Bob Stewarts afterwards for all those who come along,
We’re keen to hear your views and suggestions about improving Drumbeg. Please feel free to contact us.

Lest We Forget - a Drumbeg Story by E. Rice

As the 60th anniversary of the ending of World War 2 approaches with VE celebrations all set for the 8th May, what of the men and women who were there in the thick of it? Drumbeg may be a small townland but just wander around its historic graveyard and see how many have served in wars over the centuries. For example, the Montgomery family was represented at the famous Battle of Balaclava.
However, it's the story of one unsung hero that follows. William joined the Merchant Navy in 1937 aged l6. He could hardly wait to "see the world" as he had hardly been outside Drumbeg at all.
But, like many, he hadn't anticipated the war and when it came he never dreamed that the contribution of the Merchant Navy would be so enormous and vital. But the MN was pivotal to the success of the Battle of the Atlantic. It carried supplies in convoy and tragically, the Merchant Navy lost more men per capita than any other of the services.
William's ship was torpedoed and in the dark of night he found himself in a small raft with a few survivors. They floated for four days and were eventually picked up by the Royal Navy. It's odd but the feeling which haunts him most is the silence after the explosion, followed by the screams of the men and the tiny tinny whistles they carried on their life jackets. That and the cold ... that all-encompassing feeling of being freezing from the inside out and never dry. He felt no fear where death was concerned because he concentrated so hard on keeping warm and coping with hunger and thirst.
Church graveyardAfter he was discharged from hospital - he suffered hypothermia - he was recuperating on the North coast. You must remember that the Merchant Navy had no uniform, merely a small lapel button with the letters MN on it. Barely visible. So when he was out walking along the beach, a woman came up, spat in his face, called him a coward and handed him a white feather. She thought he was making no contribution to the war at all. He didn't even bother to enlighten her. He was 20 years old.
William remained with the Merchant Navy until retirement. He was torpedoed a further three times, lost many of his friends and had nightmares for many many years. But he has never thought of himself as a hero, "I was just doing my job, the best way I knew how." One of the most poignant things he said was that he was glad he was rescued pretty quickly because "once you are off the ship, your pay stops, yes, even when you are literally blown or bombed off it."
So on VE day, raise a glass to William and those of his friends who never made it home.
More stories are available at www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2

SEELB and LCC Belligerence Impedes New School Provision
Recently it became clear that the blame for lack of movement with regard to the replacement of several rural schools including Charley Memorial with a new 'state of the art' facility can be laid firmly at the feet of the SEELB and LCC. Despite the original commitment to build the school on Drumbeg Road, both parties are now determined that it should be sited on HiIlhall Road. SEELB say this is because it 'satisfies the wishes of the greater number of local people'. In fact there seems very little democratic process about this decision. Quite rightly the Planning Service are very concerned about road safety because of high traffic volume and high accident rates on Hillhall Road and have so far failed to give into pressure to grant planning permission. Despite the overwhelming logic of the Drumbeg alternative SEELB and LCC appear to be trying to batter the Planning Service into submission. The Association remains committed to argue the case for Drumbeg Road and all may not yet be lost.

Dates for your diary
Senior Citizens' Outing
Last years senior citizens' outing in early June was to the Palace Stables Heritage Centre. These are a restored 1770 Georgian stables block set in the Palace Demesne. The weather was lovely and everyone lucky enough to get along on this trip had a wonderful time.
This year the outing's destination is the Folk Park at Cultra.
The trip will take place on Monday the 13th of June. The busses will leave Drumbeg at around 10.00 am and the morning will be spent doing as you will in the Park. Lunch will be taken in the Stables Restaurant in Groomsport. In the afternoon the trip will take in the Garden Centre at Donaghadee. No doubt for those that like to get the sand between their toes there will be an opportunity for a walk on a beach and of course an ice cream! Everyone will be home for teatime. As places are likely to be limited to around thirty; anyone wishing to go should contact a Committee member as soon as possible.
Community Service
The annual community service at St. Patrick's Church, has become an annual and much loved event over recent years. This years service is planned for Sunday 12th June. So why not come along and join us.
Flower and Vegetable Show
The centrepiece of the community calendar may seem a long way away but if you're a gardener then its time you started thinking about potential exhibits. Please remember this is not Chelsea! But a good excuse for the community to share a social occasion and maybe the odd gardening tip. The event is planned for Saturday 3rd September. Look out for details.

Drumbeg News Volume 2 Issue 1 March 2005


Editor; Sheelagh McRandal
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