A photographic facebook page created to celebrate the happy times enjoyed by pupils and staff of Ballee Primary has achieved a post reach of 15,107 in a week.
Hundreds of pupils of the school are ‘liking’ the page set up by its former principal, Shaun Martin, in a year which marks the 40th anniversary of its opening on the hill above Ballymena’s Lettercreeve.
For its first 23 years, Ballee Controlled Primary School had Mr Martin, a former pupil of Ballymena Academy, as its principal.
Under his leadership, the enrolment grew from just under 100 to over 300 in the 1980s. However, due to a maturing community and demographic changes the school was closed in 2010.
After much soul searching, Mr Martin came to the decision that something had to be done to celebrate the happy memories of Ballee Primary.
On the advice of his grandsons, he chose Facebook to present a photographic record of the school and, in little over a week, the page had 407 ‘likes’ and a post reach of over 15,000.
Mr Martin told The Times of his delight that former pupils, their parents and friends have been unanimous in their support and praise of the initative.
He said: “I have been very touched by the kind and genuine comments which the page has attracted.
“The ‘Like’ list of names is like a roll call of former pupils. Many are making contact with former school mates and there is much discussion about the photographs. Some are posting photos to be uploaded on a new page which I have set up - ‘Ballee Primary School Photos Extra’, which I hope will be a success.”
Among the comments posted...
“Very emotional going through all these amazing pictures and memories. Along with my amazing parents, Ballee Primary School helped mould me into the man I am today” (Ryan Ball).
“I thought it was a great school and enjoyed my seven years there! The teachers were great, got me into a good grammar school and on to university. Thank-you for helping bring back great memories”. (Lynsey Jones).
“What a great idea and splitting my sides at some of the photos. Both my girls went there and didn’t do too badly in life thanks to Mr Martin and all the teachers who had probably a lot to put up with”. (Lynn Stewart).