The atmosphere was on cue in Antrim this evening as fans gathered to welcome local 2018 Masters Snooker Champion, Mark Allen for a celebration event. The snooker superstar was on form when he shot a spectacular 147 break to the cheers of his home crowd during his frame against Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill.
Mark Allen Wows Hometown
Organised by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and hosted by BBC’s Stephen Watson, the celebration event took place at Antrim Forum and was attended by approximately 500 well-wishers. As well as the many Mark Allen fans, guests also included friends, family and local snooker club members.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill commented; “Mark’s recent big break at the 2018 Snooker Masters, where he sunk Kyren Wilson 10-7, as well as taking on Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins on his way to the final is no doubt a massive achievement and we, as a Borough are extremely proud.”
He continued, “Mark is the first Northern Irishman to win one of snooker’s three major titles since Dennis Taylor’s Masters victory in 1987. It is my honour to congratulate him on not just this amazing achievement but as an ambassador for his home town of Antrim.”
Mark Allen commented, “I am overwhelmed with the support here this evening. I started playing snooker at a young age and have been a member of both Riverside Snooker Club in Antrim and after it closed, 147 Snooker Club. It is great to see so many of my supporters here this evening and I am delighted to have this celebration event so that I can give something back to the people of my home town.”
Last Call for Rural Business Development Grant Applications!
Are you a small business in a rural area of the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough that would benefit from a grant of up to £4,999? Then make sure you apply for the Rural Business Development Grant Scheme!
Applications are currently being accepted by the Council on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) through the Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme (TRPSI) with a deadline of 12pm on Friday 30 July.
The grant of up to £4,999, at a 50% grant rate is applicable to capital items such as equipment, machinery, computers and an e-commerce website. To be eligible to apply, the business must have less than 10 full-time equivalent employees and not have benefitted from the grant previously.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb commented: “There isn’t long left before the application process closes, so I would encourage the small rural businesses of the Borough to apply now. With just under £5k available to these businesses, this can be a great helping hand to those that are recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, as well as the opportunity to grow and develop their business. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank DAERA for the £62k funding made available for these grants as well as absorbing the staff costs.”
Applications close at 12pm on 30 July 2021. For more information including eligibility criteria or to apply visit www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/ruralbusinessgrants or text Business Rural to 80039.
Plans Approved to Secure the Future of Steeple House
Works are set to begin at one of Antrim’s most historic sites to refurbish Steeple House to its former glory. A Grade B+ listed building, Steeple House sits within a 17 acre parkland site which also includes the Antrim Round Tower, a scheduled monument which served as a bell-tower and place of refuge from raiders and is one of only two complete towers remaining in Northern Ireland.
Once the location of a former medieval monastery, Steeple House was built in 1827 by the Fawcett family and later became the headquarters for Antrim Borough Council. A fire in July 2019 caused extensive damage to the listed building including the loss of its roof.
Vice-Chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee, Alderman Fraser Agnew MBE said: “I am delighted that the plans approved by the Committee this evening will secure this important part of our local heritage. The plans ensure that Steeple House will be restored to its pre-fire condition, respecting the character, architecture and historic interest of the building. The planning proposal also received support and was commended by the Historic Environment Division, the Department responsible for listed buildings in Northern Ireland.”
In addition to the refurbishment of Steeple House, there are plans by the Council for the wider park including new interpretive signage and pathways to promote greater access to the site, showcasing the Round Tower as a unique feature. Plans are also being developed by a third party to develop a section of the site as a healthcare facility.