BALLYMONEY Mayor, Cllr Ian Stevenson, has issued a statement praising the organisers of the several large local events which have occurred recently.
He said: “The last week in July is always one which allows people of the borough a chance to enjoy themselves with the Milk Cup, Dunloy Accordion Band parade and festival, and now the Armoy Road Races. This is also a period which is particularly good for tourism (from within Northern Ireland and internationally) and this, as a result generates more business in the town and borough.
“Through the Milk Cup I have met many people from right across the globe who have been made feel very welcome and have left with a positive image of Northern Ireland and look forward to returning next year. It has also given people here a chance to view football to a high standard and to meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds, but also to mix with many people locally and to share the common love of football.
“The Milk Cup also goes global via the internet and teams from across the world also update their own supporters on their own club websites.
“The Armoy Road Races were also an event which brought many people into the area to enjoy the days high standard of motorbike racing, with the number of vehicles heading that way showing that it is going from strength to strength. As with the Milk Cup, the weather certainly played its part in attracting people to the area and the whole connection with the Armoy Armada, of whom I am very proud, certainly made this an event I am proud to be associated with. I was also pleased to meet several visitors from the Isle of Man, including the Mayor of Douglas who came across specifically for the races.
“The third of these events which brought several thousand people into the town centre on Saturday was the annual parade and festival of Dunloy Accordion band. I met people from all across the province at this occasion as well as from mainland U.K. and Australia. I was also pleased to welcome, and network with, Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland at the afternoon festival who expressed how much he enjoyed his time here. From chatting with several local business people I am led to believe that the footfall generated that day was very good for trade locally during the summer holiday period.
“As well as these events there were other community events and annual races at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre which helped to bring people together and to make life that little bit more pleasant. I would also like to pass on my thanks to the council staff who acted with courtesy at all times at the events they were involved in, a fact which was noted by several people from home and abroad and made a good impression on them. “I also pay tribute to the staff responsible for the beautiful flower displays around the town. Some visitors who I took to the Memorial Gardens were extremely impressed by the floral work and the setting of the gardens.
“In closing, I would like my year in office to be one where the message that goes out that no matter how hard things may be economically, and the many challenges and debates which currently exist and will undoubtedly come, that we should not talk ourselves down but should face the challenges head on with a positive spirit and work to help each other get through the hard times.
“Such events, like these, help to lift peoples spirits and are, I believe, a good way of helping the local economy. Putting on more events is a good way to bring people to the borough from outside, so that they can see the warmth of the people and what Ballymoney has to offer,” said Mayor Stevenson.