Vol 3 Issue 2 October 2006 Online edition
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
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
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
The widespread support for the amalgamation of the four schools on one
Your personal interest and desire to send your own children to the amalgamated
Vegetable Show 2006
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.
to the Drum
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
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.
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
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.
3 Issue 2 October 2006