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Ards And North Down

Ballyhalbert War Memorial Commemorates WWII Polish Airmen

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, beside the new lectern which has information about Ballyhalbert airfield during the second world war.

Ards and North Down Borough Council has installed a lectern near the Ballyhalbert War Memorial to commemorate the Polish airmen and others who gave their lives for our freedom during World War II.

Part-funded by The Executive Office, the Council’s Good Relations team worked closely with the North Down Museum to produce the informative lectern that details the history of Ballyhalbert Airfield and the vitally important role that Polish servicemen played during the war.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings, said:

“Many Polish servicemen provided support during World War II and two Polish squadrons spent time at RAF Ballyhalbert, one of which was the most successful squadron in the Battle of Britain. The lectern will give everyone who visits an opportunity to pause for a moment, reflect, and remember all of the brave men and women who gave so much during the War.”

Ballyhalbert Airfield originally opened as an RAF Fighter Command base in 1941 and catered for various aircraft. It had three runways, two Bellman hangars and 12 Blister hangars. It later became a Royal Naval Air Station before being decommissioned in November, 1945.

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Ards And North Down

Veterans Parade Returns to Newtownards on 24 September

Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

A parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, supported by Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, will form part of the annual Veterans Evening in Conway Square, Newtownards, on Friday 24 September at 7pm.

The event will be hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, and will recognise the invaluable contribution of men and women from across the Borough who served their country, both at home and abroad.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“We have many serving and past members of the Armed Forces living in the Borough. This annual event pays tribute to our veterans and it is a time to remember those who served, sacrificed and fought for our freedom. I look forward to the event and hope that many of our residents will line the streets in support of our veterans.”

Starting from Court Square at 7pm, the band will follow a route to Conway Square (via Court Street and South Street) where it will be received by the Lord Lieutenant of County Down.

A Beating Retreat ceremony, with a colourful cavalcade of military music, tradition and precision drill, will then take place, with Royal British Legion veterans parading alongside members of the many regimental associations from the Borough and beyond.

The band will follow a return route from Conway Square to Court Square via High Street, Mill Street, Gibson’s Lane, Regent Street, Frances Street, Castle Place and Castle Street.

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Ards And North Down

‘Chatty Bench’ Installed in Bangor to Tackle Loneliness

Hester Kelly (Good Morning Call Volunteer) with the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, and Dorothy Beattie (Manager, AGE North Down & Ards) on the Chatty Bench in Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Photo Credit: Ian Pedlow

Ards and North Down Borough Council has placed its first ‘Chatty Bench’ in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden.

Designed to help tackle loneliness and support positive mental health within the community, Chatty Benches are popping up all around the country to provide a place for people to come together, chat and connect.

After more than a year of social distancing, the brightly coloured bench is designed to attract attention and encourage people to talk to each other.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:

“Chatty Benches are an excellent initiative to tackle loneliness in our community. They provide designated places that encourage people to meet and talk, even if they don’t know each other. The Council will soon install a second bench in Newtownards’ Londonderry Park, so if you feel like you want to chat with someone, simply take a seat on a Chatty Bench.”

Bangor Castle Walled Garden is an award-winning park that holds a prestigious Green Flag Award. It is a popular destination with residents and visitors to the Borough.

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