With the approach of the New Year, it brings the chance to look forward to what we hope the year to come will bring.
For myself, I am honoured and privileged to have been chosen to act in the role as Deputy Mayor. The role has given me the opportunity to travel right across our Borough and meet with different groups with differing objectives and needs.
To be invited albeit for a short time, to witness the work and successes of a group is a humbling experience and there have been many which have left me with an indelible memory. I want to thank the many hundreds of volunteers within our community who deliver without any thought of themselves, through sport, faith groups, community associations etc.
The highest honour open to any citizen was offered to me when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Borough in June.
To have personally welcomed The Queen and Prince Philip to Royal Portrush Golf Club has certainly been one of the highlights as they came to take part in a Civic Lunch which was attended by over 100 community volunteers from across the Borough and I know that each and every one was highly impressed with the most senior Royals.
For me, I will forever remember sitting listening the Duke of Edinburgh reminisce over lunch about his visits to Londonderry as a young naval officer in training and speaking of his great pride in being one of the few remaining veterans of World War 2. I can’t help but think that I was in the presence of what will surely, one day be a great part of history in Northern Ireland.
The centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme have been a very poignant time of the year for very different reasons. As Deputy Mayor, I felt it was incumbent upon me to stay at home and reflect with our citizens the sacrifices the men and women from our towns and villages paid at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. I attended many commemoration events organised in both Coleraine and Limavady. To have seen all generations taking part leaves me with a great sense that ‘We will always remember’ those who sacrificed everything for us and future generations.
I have visited schools, church groups and older people’s groups. I have taken part in youth events and have experienced at first hand the fantastic work which they all do in their local communities. There are too many to mention by name, but I know you are out there working daily to support and help people in the Borough or raising money for charities. It is this collective contribution that makes our Borough such a wonderful community and my heartfelt admiration goes out to you all.
I hope you all enjoy spending time with family and friends. May you and your families have a very Happy, Peaceful New Year.