World Superbike racing champion Dr Jonathan Rea MBE has been conferred with the Freedom of the Borough at a special ceremony held by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
A short reception took place in the Mayor’s Parlour in Larne Town Hall today (Thursday 29 April 2021) with a limited number of individuals attending, in keeping with the current Covid-19 guidelines that are in place.
The decision to confer the prestigious title to Dr Jonathan Rea MBE was one proposed by Cllr Gregg McKeen and seconded by Alderman Paul Reid.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Peter Johnston said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest accolade that Council can award and I am delighted to have presented it to World Superbike Champion Dr Jonathan Rea MBE.
“Jonathan’s career to date has been nothing short of incredible. He is one of the greatest sports people our country has ever produced.
“A past pupil of Larne Grammar School, Dr Rea has won the Superbike World Championship a record six times. He is the first rider in the history of the Championship to achieve six world titles consecutively from 2015 until 2020.
“The word legend is often over-used, but in Jonathan, we in Mid and East Antrim, have someone who is truly fitting of that description.
“He is a wonderful ambassador for our area and an inspiration to so many throughout Northern Ireland, and around the world.”
The Dr Jonathan Rea Bursary
To mark this special occasion a ‘perpetual’ bursary has been launched by Council in Dr Jonathan Rea’s name. The purpose of this is to provide additional support to sporting individuals within the Borough who will act as effective ambassadors for Mid and East Antrim in their chosen sporting activity, with funding up to £2,000 per individual.
Cllr Johnston added: “While it is customary to have an exchange of gifts at Freedom events, Jonathan asked that rather than presenting him with a gift, to explore options which would assist individuals within our Borough who excel in individual sports so that they can enhance their sporting development.
“This bursary is a fitting tribute to Dr Jonathan Rea and we thank him for this lasting legacy which will benefit many recipients from our Borough.”
To find out more about the Dr Jonathan Rea bursary and to apply visit here.
Mayor Welcomes New Stand at Greenisland Football Club
Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston along with Deputy Mayor, Cllr Andrew Wilson and Cllr Bobby Hadden visited Greenisland Football Club to see the commencement of the works to provide a new 128-seater spectator stand and turnstiles, which will bring the grounds up to meet Intermediate League status requirements.
Mid and East Antrim Council in partnership with Greenisland Football Club have been working together to deliver this new stand. Through working in partnership, the club have been able to secure £45,000 of external funding and along with a contribution from the club Council are contributing £35,000 to deliver the £90,000 spectator stand.
Mayor, Cllr Peter Johnston said: Once again, I would like to pay tribute to Greenisland Football Club and in particular the time and commitment that the club members put into progressing this project.
“As a Council, we have been delighted to help fund a portion of this work and to enable the vision and objectives of the club to be met.
“Greenisland Football Club are a fantastic club and it is no surprise that they have recently been recognised from UEFA as one of the top grass roots football clubs in Europe.”
Mervyn Montgomery, Greenisland Football Club said: “We are indebted to the on-going support of our External Funders and Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, to enable us to build upon the existing facilities at Greenisland and to develop further our Community Sports Programs and Longer Terms Plans for the Club.”
This new stand will further enhance the major investment Mid and East Antrim Council made in 2018 through the delivery of a new 3G facility on the back of £100,000 of funding the club secured from SportNI.
The Club and Council had also secured external funding to upgrade the grass pitches, which are owned by the Council, in 2018 at a cost of £50,000.
Mid and East Antrim Council are committed to working with all groups within the borough to ensure that our ratepayers and residents have top class facilities which will improve their quality of life and their health and well-being.
Daley and Laugher Amongst GB Divers Heading for Tokyo
Tom Daley and Jack Laugher are named in a phenomenally strong 12-person diving squad heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in less than two months’ time.
After a terrific performance at the FINA Diving World Cup in the Japanese capital last month – a competition that also doubled up as the Olympic test event – Team GB will be represented by a full complement of divers in every single event, after the four remaining places were secured.
Laugher, reigning Olympic champion, is one of the household names selected, and he heads to Japan to defend that crown. He will also target a second Olympic medal in the individual 3m Springboard event, after taking silver in that competition five years ago.
Laugher will be joined in the synchro by Rio 2016 bronze medallist Daniel Goodfellow, with Edinburgh’s James Heatly the other pick in the 3m individual.
Daley will once again double up in Tokyo, contesting both the 10m Platform and 10m Synchro events, the latter of which he won Olympic bronze in alongside Goodfellow in Rio. Now diving with Matty Lee in the synchro event, the Jane Figueiredo-coached duo will head to Japan full of confidence, after winning both the World Cup and European Championship titles last month.
Dive London athlete Daley also famously took bronze in the individual event at London 2012, and will look for further Olympic success in Tokyo – he also has two World titles to his name in that 10m Platform event. Joining him from the high board in the individual contest will be Noah Williams, whilst Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix and Lois Toulson will go in the women’s event, with Toulson partnered by Eden Cheng in the synchro.
Grace Reid, Kat Torrance and Scarlett Mew Jensen round out the diving dozen, Reid contesting both the Women’s 3m Springboard and 3m Synchro, with Mew Jensen joining her in the former and City of Leeds’ Torrance in the latter.
Of the team heading for Tokyo, Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England, said: “It is a huge privilege to be able to welcome this talented group of athletes onto Team GB for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The performances we’ve consistently seen from these athletes throughout the recent World Cup and European competitions is testament to the hard work and dedication that the whole team has put in throughout what has been a very challenging year. Everyone who supports Team GB will be buoyed by what this team has achieved in recent weeks and will have every confidence that we will see more of these medal winning performances in Tokyo.
“Congratulations everyone and we look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo in July.”
British Diving Performance Director, Alexei Evangulov, added: “This has been the longest Olympic cycle ever, however the hardest part of it was the last year – our team exceeded all my expectation in terms of coping with all the challenges we experienced during the pandemic. There were a lot; pools closures, isolation, quarantine, uncertainness, competitions postponements, you name it. Our divers not only managed to secure their physical and technical shape in this situation, but also significantly improved their diving quality.
“All of this, plus our coaches and staff’s professionalism allowed us to come up to the homestretch to Tokyo with a great confidence, high ambitions and belief.”
Great Britain Diving Team:
- Eden Cheng, London, Crystal Palace Diving
- Thomas Daley, Plymouth, Dive London
- Daniel Goodfellow, Cambridge, City of Leeds
- James Heatly, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Diving Club
- Jack Laugher, Harrogate, City of Leeds
- Matty Lee, Leeds, Dive London
- Scarlett Mew Jensen, London, Dive London
- Grace Reid, Edinburgh, Dive London
- Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, London, Crystal Palace Diving
- Katherine Torrance, Leeds, City of Leeds
- Lois Toulson, Leeds, City of Leeds
- Noah Williams, London, Dive London