Movie star Liam Neeson delighted pupils and staff at a Ballymena school with a special visit yesterday.
He was guest of honour for Slemish College’s 20th anniversary celebrations joining principal Dr Paul McHugh, head boy Connor Lunnun and head girl Abigail Fletcher to cut a special cake in the shape of the school building.
The 63-year-old movie star posed for photos and selfies with pupils and staff, signed autographs and chatted with students for about two hours on Monday.
He also watched performances by the school’s drama department, spoke about film and acting and had tea and cake with Year 14 pupils.
Liam grew up in Corlea Gardens in Ballymena’s Demesne estate and was educated at St Patrick’s Secondary School in the town, now St Patrick’s College.
He is a long-time supporter of integrated education in the north and back in December met Baroness May Blood, chair of the Integrated Education Fund and John Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Fitzpatrick Hotels and Chair of the American Ireland Fund at the House of Lords in London to show his continuing support for the campaign for integrated education.
Last month, the actor, who is a Freeman of Ballymena having been awarded the honour by the former borough council in 2013, took time out from his schedule to support the people of the town in their battle for jobs.
He recorded a short video urging the public to support the Rally For A Future following the loss of 2,000 jobs in Ballymena with the forthcoming closures of JTI Gallaher and Michelin.
His latest visit comes as he once again lends his voice a Tourism Ireland video inviting the world to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
The video features the voice of the famous actor in 15 countries around the world and encourages prospective holidaymakers to come and visit Ireland this year.
The Ballymena born film star is also set to be honoured at the Irish Film and Television Awards next month for his outstanding contribution to film.