Twenty-five years after it hit the airwaves, Ballymena’s Radio Cracker is still going strong and that, according to its chairman is down to local citizens.
Radio Cracker stations were first established in the UK by Tearfund and the Oasis Trust to tell people of the poverty and suffering in the world and to encourage Christian bodies to work with people of all faiths, and none, to raise funds for humanitarian projects throughout the world.
In 1991, when a group of local men, led by Ernie Kilpatrick, got together to start such a station in Ballymena, some 90 stations were already operating in Great Britain. Now, 25 years later, it seems Radio Cracker Ballymena (RCB) is the only one still broadcasting.
RCB Chairman Gordon Dawson says the survival and health of RCB is mainly due to the generosity and loyalty of the people of the greater Ballymena area.
He said: “Within Northern Ireland, the people of Ballymena have an undeserved reputation of being too ‘tight’ with their money and, yet, all around the world, through the work of RCB, Ballymena is known for its love and generosity.
“Local businesses and individual supporters have given us over £1.5million, which is absolutely awesome when one considers the economic difficulties of the past few years and the recent and imminent job losses”.
Turning to this year’s main fundraising season, Mr Dawson said he and his committee were hoping that to mark this 25th anniversary year, RCB supporters would give even more generously, so that more help could be given to those who can’t help themselves. “Let’s show the world just how loving and caring we can really be!,” he said.
Broadcasting, from Montgomery’s starts as usual on November 27 on 107.6 FM, or online at www.radiocracker.org.uk and will continue right through to Christmas Eve. RCB’s main sponsor is D Robinson and Son, Painters and Decorators, Loan Road, Cullybackey. Other major sponsors are Stephens Catering Equipment, Curtis Toyota Ballymena, P&O
Ferries, Specsavers and Michelin. Through the generosity of Sam Morrison, the Radio Cracker Christmas Shop will be in The Tower Centre.
The ‘launch event’ will be, by popular demand, the return of The Belfast Community Gospel Choir in concert in Wellington Church, on November 19, at 7.30pm. Tickets priced £10 are available in The Faith Mission Bookshop or online at www.radiocracker.org.uk or at the door.
“We would love to see the Church full for this event” said Mr Dawson “It would be such an encouragement to us all at RCB and a wonderful start to this, our special anniversary year”.