‘Big Mac’s story one of inspiration’

ON YOUR MARKS. Ballymoney Museum Manager Keith Beattie and Christine Drewes from South Africa, pictured at the 'Marathon Mac' exhibition launch on Thursday.INBM16-12 015SC.
ON YOUR MARKS. Ballymoney Museum Manager Keith Beattie and Christine Drewes from South Africa, pictured at the 'Marathon Mac' exhibition launch on Thursday.INBM16-12 015SC.

DERVOCK Olympic hero KK McArthur’s legendary triumph is an inspiration to all, those gathered at the launch of an exhibition in his name have heard.

‘Marathon Mac’ was launched last week to mark the centenary of McArthur’s gold medal winning exploits at the Olympic Games in Sweden.

A representative from Dervock and District Community Association told the audience:”The recent project called ‘Dervock Discovered’ funded by the HLF ‘Your Heritage and Young Roots’ small grants programme identified historical figures such as William McKinley (25th President of America), Lord McCartney (1st Ambassador to China), the Russel family, founders of the Pony Express who originated from the village of Dervock – but those stories are for another day.

“As a community and a borough we are all gathered here today to celebrate and recognise the achievement of another son of Dervock – yes Kennedy Kane McArthur, Olympic gold medallist.

“This is truly a story of inspiration - a natural story of an Irishman – who from a humble background achieved what fairytales often try to capture.

“Here was an Irishman (pre-partition), born in the old province of Ulster (Uldah), ran for South Africa, and yet signed his entry form as a British citizen

“It encapsulates everything that is relevant to the ‘Good Relation Strategies’ encouraged by councils throughout the province - within our subconscious we all place limitations to what we can aspire to - but this story of Big Ken should be and will be an inspiration to us all – a legacy for future generations.

“We are immensely proud and humbled that today the world stands with us and recognises the unique story of McArthur Mac - An Olympian from our wee village.

“With any social events, there is a backroom team who contribute immensely to the overall planning and direction of proceedings.

“As Chairperson of Dervock and District Community Association I must thank the members of the Joint Working Group consisting of Ballymoney Borough Council officers, councillors/MLAs which represent both the Bushvale Ward and North Antrim – the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Heritage Lottery Fund, Ballymoney Community Resource Centre, NIAF, Supporting Communities NI, Springwell Running Club and DADCA Ltd.

“Particular mention must go to Keith Beattie, manager, Ballymoney Museum, who has painstakingly co-ordinated this exhibition with his counterpart from Potchefstroom – Christine Drewes.

“Thank you both, you have done our village proud and helped bring to life the story of Kennedy Kane McArthur.

“Dervock KK McArthur ‘Festival of Running 2012’ celebrations undoubtedly give a fantastic opportunity for many local people to become involved as volunteers to ensure the successful delivery of both of these projects. 

“It will help dispel the apathy felt within the village, and inspire more people to become involved in support programmes and creating new projects which will go someway towards achieving the vision outlined in our Village Action Plan.

“We are still looking for sponsorship for aspects of the overall programme and indeed volunteers to assist in operational roles. If anyone would like to contribute – no matter how big or small, please contact the Community House, Dervock on 028 207 42568 or email: dervock.ni@btconnect.com “