Ballymoney Museum will be celebrating K.K. McArthur’s famous olympic Gold medal with a series of exciting events to mark the centenary, Mr. Keith Beattie, the Museum manager told the audience.
He said the planning had begun two years ago and was progressing satisfactorily.
Mr. Beattie revealed that thanks to generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum will be able to make 2012 a commemoration that will be remembered for many years to come.
The main feature of the programme will be a unique exhibition telling the story of ‘Marathon Mac’.
On display will be medals, trophies and memorabilia that once belonged to the Olympic hero that will be brought across the world from Potchefstroom Museum, South Africa.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see McArthur’s 1912 Olympic ‘Springbok’ Blazer and the original shirt number ‘613’ which he wore during the marathon race.
In addition, Ballymoney Museum is working with a playwright to develop a new stage drama about McArthur. People from the local community will be invited to take part and the play will be performed in Dervock and Ballymoney to coincide with the centenary in July 2012 with four professional actors on board.
To complement the play, the museum is organising two colourful re-enactments of the events that occured on McArthur’s triumphant return from Stockholm. It is hoped to have 100 torch carriers parading in the dark through Dervock.
When he arrived in Ballymoney by train in 1912, he was pulled from the railway station up High Street on a carriage - the carriage was drawn, not by horses, but by people of the town!
He then travelled to Dervock where he was greeted by the villagers leading him in a torchlight procession.
Both these remarkable occasions will be repeated, using actors and members of the public, creating a spectacle that will attract huge crowds to the borough.