The Ulster Covenant and Historical Society (Combine) held a poignant and dignified commemorative service at Billy Parish Church on Saturday, May to remember and reflect on the story of Sgt Robert Quigg VC.
Darren Quigg (Great Nephew of Sgt R Quigg VC) commented: “This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the battle of ‘Messines’ and in particular, the story of Pte Meeke MM from neighbouring Benvarden. Both stories [Meeke MM and Quigg VC] encapsulates the objectives of the Good Relations programme as it demonstrates the risk taken by an individual to rescue another individual irrespective of religion, class, age or gender.
Frankie Cunningham (Project Coordinator, Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society) explained: “The basis for this small annual commemorative service is to incorporate the story of Sgt Robert Quigg VC in an established themed tourist trail that exploits the existing heritage in neighbouring villages.
“Within that framework consent has been given to erect an interpretive panel at Derrykeighan old graveyard denoting the story of Pte John Meeke MM.
“It will create a focal point for school groups, youth groups, interest groups, cross community or single identity groups, tourists, the multiple stories that exist within North Antrim and to open existing resources which can be linked to other initiatives from NITB, Local Councils / Museums, National Trust etc.
“I would like to thank the ladies of Billy parish church, Rev J Anderson (Chaplain – UCHS), the select vestry of Billy parish church, Jim McIlroy [Parade Commander - 12th Battn. Royal Irish Rifles Memorial Association], the Mill Tea Room Dervock, Ulster Covenant and Historical Society branches from Fermanagh and Belfast, Ultoniae Cultural & Heritage Society (North Antrim), members from the 12th Battn. Royal Irish Rifles Memorial Association, Piper Robert [Robbie] Bellingham (Topp Star of The North Pipe Band and Bugler G. Lutton who collectively helped deliver a successful event.”
This commemorative event was supported by Ultoniae Cultural and Heritage Society, through the PIP III (Peace Impact Programme) initiative (Tourism and Employability elements) - funded by the ‘International Fund for Ireland’.
More pictures can be seen online: www.ballymoneytimes.co.uk