A celebration to mark the links between Dervock and a former President of America took placeat the newly-opened Community Centre.
William McKinley’s paternal ancestors came from Connagher just outside the village and the links have always been celebrated but none more so than what Dervock and District History Group served up for residents at the centre to mark the President’s birthday. McKinlay was the 25th President of the USA and at the Community Centre a cake to mark the occasion was cut by the Deputy Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Darryl Wilson, along with local historians Peter Thompson and Frankie Cunningham. The aim of the occasion was to educate everyone about McKinley as well as instilling a pride in Dervock and the event proved a huge success with a large crowd attending. Peter Thompson said on a social media website: “This morning as the snow was falling in the village the newly opened Dervock Community Hall burst into life with their “President McKinley Luncheon Birthday Party”.
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There was entertainment to suit everyone. Local youngsters enjoyed all sorts of activities from inflatables to balloon modelling and a colouring in competition, the subject being President McKinley’s ancestral home . Adults were entertained with the combined musical talents of Dick and Sabine Glasgow with members from Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band. The ladies from the The Mill Tea Rooms who were dressed in period 19th century costume provided a beautiful American themed lunch for all present.
A suberb display of artifacts organised by Ballymoney Museum manager, Keith Beattie relating to President McKinley went on display for the first time showcasing our links with the famous American President. Keith also organised banners telling the story of the bravery of our local war hero’s Pte John Meeke MM and Pte Robert Quigg VC. Also on display was a banner depicting our very own Dervock born and bred Olympic Gold Medalist, Kennedy Kane McArthur. The Ullan’s Centre from Ballymoney presented Ulster’s Ulster/Scots/American heritage with a table full of interesting free pamphlets detailing all our historical links.
Today would not have been possible without the financial funding sourced by the Chairman of Dervock and District Community Association, Frankie Cunningham. Last but by no means least, what made today’s event a great success was the people of Dervock, today we made history and for our visitors we showcased our village...today Dervock stood proud.
A message from America was also sent to Dervock which read: “On behalf of the board, staff and volunteers at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton, Ohio we would like to thank you for your hard work and effort in honoring and preserving the legacy of the United States’ 25th President”.