A special tree planting ceremony took place at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Mossley Mill headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to mark HM Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning British monarch.
The ceremony, hosted by Mayor Thomas Hogg, was attended by elected representatives and senior council officials. A similar event was held earlier in the day at Antrim Civic Centre.
Both ceremonies were organised to celebrate HM The Queen becoming the UK’s longest reigning monarch, as she surpassed Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years and 216 days.
Planting a commemorative red oak tree in the grounds of Mossley Mill, Councillor Hogg described the event as “an historic occasion for our United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”
“Antrim and Newtownabbey is a very royalist borough and it would be fair to say that Her Majesty is held in very high esteem by all of her loyal subjects here.
“I have written to Her Majesty the Queen to extend the very best wishes of both the council and of all her subjects.”
He added: “On behalf of her loyal subjects in Antrim and Newtownabbey I thank her for her service, I salute her and I wish her God’s richest blessings for the future. May she be long spared to reign over us.”
The ceremony concluded with a prayer from the Mayor’s chaplain, Rev Campbell Dixon MBE.
Speaking after the event, Cllr Matthew Magill commented: “I count it a great honour to be able to mark Her Majesty’s milestone as the longest reigning monarch of our country on behalf of her subjects in the borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey. The Queen has devoted her life to the nation and the Commonwealth and it is right that the council, in some small way, mark this milestone in her honour and pay tribute to her years of service.”
Meanwhile, South Antrim MLAs Trevor Clarke and Paul Girvan were among a number of elected representatives who attended an event at Stormont on Tuesday night, hosted by DUP MLA Arlene Foster, to mark The Queen’s record service.
“It is only right that we celebrate HM The Queen on such a day, as it is an opportunity to express gratitude for her faithful service to our country,” Mr Clarke said
“It was great to see a display of important artefacts which included a throne, which HM The Queen used when she visited Stormont many years ago.
“I am aware the First Minister, Peter Robinson has expressed congratulations and gratitude to HM The Queen on behalf of Northern Ireland, of which I am sure she accepted with merit.”
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds also paid tribute to Her Majesty The Queen for “a life of devoted service to a grateful nation.”