Benvarden Community Association, Benvarden ABOB, Benvarden Friendship and Craft Group and Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001 in partnership with ‘Ultoniae Cultural & Heritage Society’ presented an evening of reflection and remembrance by unveiling and dedicating a plaque in memory of those both from the local community and further afield who volunteered - and made the supreme sacrifice during the ‘Somme Offensive’
Frankie Cunningham explained: “The basis for this small community-led event was to develop community education (Understanding Cultural Diversity) recognised by Norman L Richardson who wrote a paper called ‘Education for Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage.’ This social event called ‘Friends of Benvarden’ – ‘Service of Remembrance’ was held in Benvarden Orange Hall poignantly on Friday 1st July - provided the nucleus for the wider community to concentrate on the topic of ‘Educational Themes’ – to develop the Employability and Local Empowerment aspects within our PIP II application – to strengthen the establishment of a tourist trail (creating tour guides) that exploits the existing heritage in neighbouring villages and hamlets in Derrykeighan, Mosside, Bushmills, Armoy, Ballybogey and Liscolman. It encouraged the potential for a social economy project - which can be linked to other initiatives from NITB, Local Councils / Museums, National Trust etc.
“The Tourism Trail could be developed to include themed trails e.g. The Great War (WWI) to which the townland would have a genuine link with – namely – Pte John Meeke MM, the connection with the Montgomery Estate and Pte James McKeeman. Benvarden LOL 1001 and Dervock LOL 534 held a small yet dignified service to commemorate the legacy of a former member of Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001 - Pte John Meeke MM on Saturday 2nd July. This social event was supported by Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society, through the PIP II initiative (Local Empowerment and Employability) - funded by the ‘International Fund for Ireland’ – Amor Patriae.”