THE Mayor of Ballymoney has praised the turn out for the Christmas lights switch on last Thursday night.
Huge crowds, most families, from all over the province came to the Borough for the annual ceremony which marks the start of the town’s festive celebrations.
Alderman Bill Kennedy said: “We had a brilliant night. I think it was one of the biggest number of people we have ever had, there wasn’t a car parking space left in the whole town.
“Young Adam Martin, who helped me do the switch on, went down very well and he really enjoyed himself. Adam is a member of Ballymoney Special Olympics swimming club and a regular competitor for Ulster Special Olympic swimming team. This year he won two silver medals in the 100 metres front and back crawl at the all Ireland championships in Limerick.
“He received a special award at this year’s sports awards as a local sporting individual with a disability who received success at national and international level.
“Since the event I have received reports from shops saying they had a great trading day and walking down town afterwards all seemed very busy some with large numbers of people.”
This was the last year that Ballymoney Borough Council will be responsible for the occasion before the new Council takes over.
Agreeing, Ulster Unionist Cllr Darryl Wilson said: “I have been attending this event in Ballymoney all my life, and have never seen crowds like it. I take great encouragement in seeing the public support the town as we are about to enter into the new Council structure.
“I have spoken to several shopkeepers who were also delighted to see increased footfall, having said that we should not draw our focus away from encouraging people to shop locally more often where possible.
“After asking members of the public to comment on the event, the general consensus was that the town now looks fantastic, however, we must ensure that there is better access for the disabled and for families with pushchairs, problems seeing the stage and poor sound quality were also mentioned, this will not be easy to remedy taking into consideration the large crowds, but I will work with Council officers with a view to improving the experience for everyone next year.
“In general a fantastic event, and by taking on board the publics comments the event will go from strength to strength in the coming years.“