For half an hour, on 3rd July 1953, Ballymoney was a focus of media attention. The reason was that the Royal Train, driven by a Ballymoney man, stopped at the Railway Station and Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh stepped out to be greeted by thousands of North Antrim people. Children screamed their welcome and adults waved and cheered in a packed Station Yard, where every space and every possible vantage point was taken. It was a memorable part of the Royal Couple’s Coronation Visit to Northern Ireland.
In his talk “The Queen’s 1953 Visit” popular local historian and broadcaster, S Alex Blair, will recall the detail of the event and try to re-capture something of the atmosphere of that historic day. He will be aided by archive film of the occasion by local filmmaker Charlie McAfee, shown on the big screen.
Speaking ahead of this unique Jubilee event, Chair of the 2012 Events Group, Councillor John Finlay, said: “This looks like being an evening of rich memory, thoroughly enjoyable recollection and absorbing nostalgia. If you were there on 3rd July 1953, please come and share your memories and, if you were too young to be present, come and hear about this historic moment in the town’s history.
Our Royal Links. ..On the Queen’s visit to Ballymoney in July 1953, Mrs Grace Leslie, Leslie Hill, presented the Ballymoney Urban Council’s gift of “The Queen’s Book” to Her Majesty. This traced the Queen’s links back to the Ancient Kings of Dalriada and Mr Blair’s talk will also deal with the Royal family roots.
Ballymoney Mayor, Ian Stevenson said: “Mr Blair’s historic talks are always a popular night out. This talk celebrating the Queen’s visit to Ballymoney during her Coronation tour of Northern Ireland in 1953 will be full of our living history. It promises to be a never-to-be repeated evening of remembrance to cherish and enjoy as we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.”
Town celebrates …. Chamber President Winnifred Mellett commented: “The town will be decked out for the jubilee celebrations by tribute triangles designed and prepared by local school children, local resident groups and other community based groups in the area. You can also see a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of the town with our “On This Year” exhibition in the Town Hall and in local shop windows.
A number of town businesses are opening on the holiday Tuesday, 5th June and have organized entertainment in the town centre. Back in 1953 the Chamber of Commerce rose to the occasion supporting the local Council’s programme of coronation celebrations and we are happy join with Council in this weekend of Jubilee celebrations”.
These events are part of a series if special events to celebrate the year of the Jubilee and Olympics, promoted by Ballymoney Borough Council’s 2012 Events Team.
For further details of the event and other 2012 inspiring events to mark the Queens Jubilee and the London 2012 events Olympics www.visitballymoney.com or pick up an events guide at the tourist information centre at the Town Hall.