Birthday honours for locals

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Two people from the Ballymoney and Moyle area have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Former Mayor of the old Ballymoney Borough Council Bill Kennedy receives the MBE and Causeway Coast Peace Group co-founder Carol Anderson receives the British Empire Medal.

Bill has been recognised for services to local government and motorcycle road racing while Carol has been rewarded for services to peace and reconciliation in Bushmills and Moyle.

Speaking to the Times, Bill said: “I received the letter about six weeks ago and it came as a compete surprise. I had absolutely no idea that I had been put forward.

“It’s very nice to be acknowledged for the work I have done both in motorcycling and as a councillor but to be honest I haven’t thought much more about it since the letter came because I have been so busy getting ready for the Armoy Road Races.

“I believe that I will be sent a date to go to Buckingham Palace and that will happen within the next six months.”

Carol Anderson, too, has been keeping the news secret since May.

“I have been keeping it to myself and this is the first time I have spoken about it. I honestly thought it was a mistake when I read the letter, I thought it was meant for someone else.”

Carol explained that back in 2001 the Presbyterian Church in Ireland asked all of its chuches to appoint a ‘Peace Agent’. As a member of Bushmills Presbyterian Church, where she is still an elder, Carol was appointed as Peace Agent for that congregation and in Dunluce Presbyterian Church, the late Ian Binnie became their ‘Peace Agent’.

“We got together and decided that we needed to get in touch with the other churches in the town of Bushmills.

“We contacted the Catholic Church and that’s where the peace group began.

“It started off small as the Bushmills Peace Group but now it has spread right along the the Causeway Coast and has members from all the main churches. At our recent AGM we had 97 members.”

A retired teacher of Religious Education and Maths, Carol taught in Ballymoney High School and spent two periods in the 1970s in Africa and Papua New Guinea, teaching and on missionary work.