The importance of war memorials in Northern Ireland society has been emphasised at a community evening in Carrickfergus.
The North Irish Horse and Community Heritage Project organised the event which was held at Downshire School.
In her welcome address, principal Jacqueline Stewart said the school was pleased to be able to host the first educational visit by the War Memorials Trust.
Mrs Stewart told the audience that her school’s participation in the Community Heritage Project had opened up new learning opportunities right across the curriculum and had generated an interest among her pupils in their community’s heritage.
Guests included the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, Joan Christie OBE, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, Assemblymen Roy Beggs and Gordon Lyons, Col Nick Tougher, HQ 38 (Irish) Brigade, Colin Davidson, chairman North Irish Horse Association, John Cooke, chairman the Royal British Legion Carrickfergus and Noel Williams, RAF Association.
In her presentation, Ruth Cavender, War Memorials Trust’s Learning officer, gave the audience a glimpse into the work of the organisation.
As well as visiting Downshire and working with pupils, Ruth also visited Ulidia Integrated College, Sunnylands Primary School and St Nicholas’ Primary School, and noted the importance of war memorials within our society and that it was the responsibility of all of us to help maintain and promote the respect of war memorials.
Ruth also explained how the trust had given financial assistance and advice during the restoration of several memorials within County Antrim. A grant of £1,500 was provided in 2006 towards the restoration of the Knockagh Monument and in 2009, £2,500 was awarded to assist with repairs to the Bushmills’ War Memorial.
She encouraged anyone with a war memorial concern to contact the charity.
At the conclusion of the presentation, David McCorkell, trustee of the North Irish Horse, Museum and Archive collection, thanked Ruth for her visit and her contribution to the Community Heritage Project.
David reiterated that the objective of the project was to promote awareness within the community of Carrickfergus’ proud military and industrial heritage and that Ruth’s visit had helped in meeting the objective.