Drumbeg Community Association

Drumbeg News
Vol 3 Issue 2 October 2006
Online edition

Charley Memorial Primary School Update by Shirley MacWilliam

Many of you will have heard that at the beginning of September the South Eastern Education and Library Board Commissioners announced closure consultations for Charley Memorial, Drumbo, Hillhall and Lambeg Primary Schools. If these go ahead as formal development proposals and are agreed by the Minister for Education all four schools will close in August 2007 and there will be no new amalgamated school.

To support the decision the Board cites the falling enrolments of the schools and the number of surplus places available in other schools. The falling enrolment during the last 5 years directly correlates with the period of uncertainty since the proposal for an amalgamation. The majority of surplus places are in very different kinds of schools – large and urban.

The four schools have agreed to make a counter proposal to SEELB. The counter proposal is to pursue the amalgamation from September 2007 on one of the existing sites – to be determined by a survey by the Board. This would give the school an opportunity to consolidate, increase enrolment and work towards the new build school in the future. An action committee of representatives from the four schools is gathering information to support the counter proposal. The Rural Development Council has offered to advise us and we have the support of Jeffrey Donaldson MP and the Lisburn City Council.

We believe that there is need and support for a rural school in the Drumbeg, Drumbo, Hillhall and Lambeg area. We believe that small rural schools form an important part of the range and variety of education in Northern Ireland and that they provide excellent education and serve an important role in the community. Academic research, such as that by Professor Tony Gallagher, Queens, confirms that small schools are effective in providing rich educational and social experiences.

We are very sad at the inevitable closure of Charley – if the Board does support our amalgamation proposal it is highly unlikely tha Charley would be the selected site because of its size. However, it would be an even greater loss to have no school at all.
The SEELB invites comments on its daft development proposals 190-193 for the closure of the four schools.

If you would like to support the fight for the amalgamated school please write to (Deadline: 25 Oct 2006):
Beth Pope, SEELB, Grahamsbridge Road, Dundonald, Belfast, BT16 2HS.

You may wish to mention:
The importance of a rural school
The damage done to enrolment of the four schools by the uncertainty of the last five or more years
The community and parental support for a new rural school with a secure future
The widespread support for the amalgamation of the four schools on one existing site
Your personal interest and desire to send your own children to the amalgamated school

Flower & Vegetable Show 2006

Our Community Association held its annual Flower and Vegetable Show last Saturday (2nd). This is the main event of our community calendar. This was the 23rd and turned out to be one of the best in recent years. It was held in St. Patrick’s Church Parochial Hall.

For most of the morning the incessant rain did not auger well for the event. However many locals still braved the wretched conditions to submit their exhibits throughout the morning. In total there were 170 exhibits across the Classes by the close of staging. Mr. John McCausland a veteran of these events had happily agreed to act as show judge. At eighty he still shows a great delight in joining us each year and is always full of praise for the efforts the local gardeners make. This year he picked out the Floral Art and Children’s sections for particular praise.

We were indeed fortunate this year that the Mayor of Lisburn, Trevor Lunn and his wife Laureen were able to join us for the event. The Show was opened by the Mayor. He told everyone that he was an enthusiastic gardener but that sadly his Mayoral duties were likely to restrict his opportunities to pursue his hobby this year to probably little more than mowing the lawn. Although he did add it was a rather big lawn! He and his wife chatted happily with exhibitors and visitors throughout the afternoon. We were also very grateful to them both for staying to present the Class Certificates and Show Cups. The 1st Old Boy Band had kindly come along to provide musical accompaniment which proved a very fitting backdrop to the whole event and was much appreciated by all. As an added attraction for the children there was also a magician. Although the large crowd he attracted appeared to include some rather mature looking individuals!

The main awards were as follows: Mrs. Rene Davis won Best in Show with her Floral Art Exhibit. Mrs. Barbara Farris won Best Fruit and Vegetable Exhibit with her wonderful apples. Master Oliver Moore was awarded the Children’s Cup for his delightful garden on a plate. Miss Chelsea Garrett won the overall prize for the Children’s Art Competition.

Thanks need to be extended to the church (Rev. R. Devenney and his Officers) for all their assistance and every business and individual who contributed to the Show ballot and the Sales Table.

Last but not least where would we be without the gardening enthusiasts? Who every year, come rain, hail or shine, delight and amaze with what they are able to conjure out of the earth in time for the event. Without you and your endeavours there would be no Show. Thank you all .


this years AGM will take place eon the 23rd October in Drumbeg Orange Hall at 8.00pm sharp. The guest speaker will be Dr Judith Lee from the Northern Ireland Mental Health.
If you care about the future of this community then you need to be there.

From Lambeg to the Drum

From Lambeg to the Drum, a collection of poetry by Colin Sloan has recently been published by Brehon Press. Colin Sloan is a former pupil of Charley Memorial, grew up in Drumbeg and now lives in Ballyskeagh. The poems refer to the places, memories and people of his childhood – a Drumbeg of 30 years ago.

They map the landscape and landmarks around the three mile stretch of the Lagan from St. Patrick’s Parish Church to Barbour Threads: abandoned 18th century industrial architecture, Robbie Stewarts, corners of Sandy Hill, lock houses, bridges, overgrown gardens, mucky lanes, the old Drumbeg Stores. The poems are accompanied by archival and contemporary photographs.
The book is available in Waterstones in Lisburn.

Drumbeg a Reminiscence
by Clara Crookshanks

I am a true native of Drumbeg born in 1942 when my parents lived in the Quarterlands Road and except for a break of 16 years I have lived all my life in Drumbeg.

My earliest childhood memories are of feeding the two Clydesdale horses belonging to our neighbour Sammy Dunlop. They were called Charlie and Jack and grazed often in the field across the road where the houses of Hambleden Park now stand and indeed where I now live.

A ride in the cart behind the horses was great fun especially when Sammy handed me the reins for a short while. I loved this feeling of control which made me feel so very important.

When we had shoes being mended I would visit Jimmy Stewart’s the local cobbler who sitting on a long bench opposite the window, hand sewed the lovely shoes that he made. His home with the shop above was a few yards from the Orange hall towards Drumbeg corner.

We did not travel far on holiday maybe a day at Newcastle or Portrush. Our big day was the 12th of July. For this each year I would have a new dress and sandals. Off we went at nine o’clock or so to the field in different places each year where we had sandwiches and tea. After the parade was over we would have a lovely sit down meal in the Orange hall prepared and served by the Ladies (wives or girl friends of the Orangemen). At around 9 p.m. the man with the accordion would start up the music and the adults would begin to dance. We tried to join in whenever we could. During the rest for the accordionist people were called to do their piece by singing a song. Well I remember Sandy Gray singing, “The Lord Mayor had a Coach Man”, Ricky Craig singing, “The little Old Mud Cabin on the Hill”. Sometimes he played the spoons on the knees. Sammy Hanna sang, “Danny Boy” and my father would sing, “My Grannies old Armchair. This would have been for me the highlight of the evening. I just loved the old songs.

Our neighbours were the Patterson family; Frank would pickle eggs and grow lots of vegetables. He kept bees and I was always sure of a slice of bread with butter and honey. Ronnie and I would make mud pies and place them in the hedges thinking the birds would use them for their nests. Water was carried from the stream at the Hollow Brae near Drennan’s farm on the Quarterlands Road. Off we would go with the old pram wheels with a board across, which we called “a guider” and fill the milk cans from the stream. As you can imagine this was fun “not a chore”.

I would often ride my bicycle down to Drumbeg corner and leave it against the large oak tree at Mr Ward’s house, catch the bus at the Corner and collect the bike on the way back. The tree is still standing at a garden in Lagan Wood.

Another Planning Blow to the Area by Nicki Whitehouse

Cemetery Proposal for Ballyskeagh/Lambeg Area Planning Application No. 0359/F
Public Meeting Saturday 21st October 2006 at St Patrick’s Church Hall.

Many of you will not be aware that a planning proposal was submitted on the 6th October 2006 for a new cemetery in the fields behind Ballyskeagh, backing onto the Lagan Canal and River, and behind the Coca-Cola Factory, almost opposite Lambeg Church, on the other side of the river.
This proposal is separate to the super-cemetery proposed for Drumbeg, but has just as serious implications.

The areas Action Group have so far collected in excess of 150 protest letters, which will be forwarded to the planning office. If you would like to obtain a copy of a blank objection letter, we are still visiting individual homes, we will also make letters available at the public meeting on Saturday 21st Oct at 7:30 in St. Patricks Church Hall.

The proposed development is within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and contains two areas listed as of Local Nature Conservation Importance. The area also contains some important remnants of the linen industry of the area such features would be a tragic loss to the Industrial Archaeology of the Lagan Valley. It flies in the face of the BMAP and Lagan Valley Park Local Plan 2005 objectives and the protection of the setting of the valley for tourism and recreation. Significantly, this site has not been identified for development within BMAP.

Although there is no crematorium indicated in the current plan, a previous version of the plans included a crematorium within the site. We believe if this application goes through, a planning application for a crematorium will quickly follow with its potential devastating effect on the local environment. There is also evidence that the cemetery will be larger than the current proposed site. Neighbouring landowners have been approached by the applicants in an attempt to secure further lands. These include lands immediately to the south of Sandymount, Nevins Row and off Sandy Lane. Objection letters from the developer’s agents against the BMAP (Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan) also identified this area as suitable for a cemetery. Significantly, the letter states that Drumbeg Residents Association and Lisburn City Councillors had been favourable to this new site which of course is untrue.

There is no reason to expect this proposal will stop development of a further cemetery at Drumbeg, indeed, it is possible this application is part of a wider plan for a super-cemetery across the area, covering a massive expanse of Drumbeg, Ballyskeagh and Lambeg Townlands. Of itself, it also sets a dangerous precedent for further applications at Drumbeg and would severely compromise the whole areas Green Belt status.

It is also of concern that LCC has brought the Coca Cola site, which opens up the possibility of access via this location.

Although there are real worries about dangerous chemicals and toxins leaching from the site because of drainage conditions in the area, the Downpatrick Planning Office have deemed that this development is not significant enough in its environmental impact to necessitate an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), despite the areas AONB status. We need to object to this matter to ensure that a full assessment is undertaken. Without this, our job is made all the harder.

Vol 3 Issue 2 October 2006


Editor; Sheelagh McRandal
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