The grandchildren of a Ballymoney World War 1 hero met for the FIRST time this week in an emotional visit to their grandfather’s grave in Derrykeighan.
Until a few months ago, neither branch of Private John Meeke’s family was aware of the other and there was a greater shock when they learned of the heroism of their famous grandfather who was decorated for bravery during the battle of Messines Ridge.
On Thursday night, the family came together for the first time and were guests of the Mayor of Ballymoney, Councillor Bill Kennedy, at Riada House.
They also attended the launch of the new exhibition ‘Across the hawthorn hedge…’ at Ballymoney Town Hall.
The following day was spent paying their respects at the grave of their grandfather and his brother, Samuel, at Derrykeighan Old Graveyard, visiting Benvarden estate where John worked and meeting members of LOL1001 Temperance True Blues at Benvarden Orange Hall, the lodge of the Meeke family during the early 20th century.
With the family now re-united, it is hoped that they will be able to come to Ballymoney to join in future WW1 commemorations, in particular the centenary of the legendary actions of Private John Meeke MM on 7 June 2017.