A special service of commemoration was held at the People’s Park in Ballymena last week to remember innocent victims of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.
Two memorial benches, donated by Ballymena Victims’ Memorial Group, were installed in remembrance of all innocent victims from the legacy Ballymena Borough Council area who lost their lives as a result of violence in the province.
The Ballymena Victims’ Memorial Group was set up to raise funds to remember those from the town and create a memorial in their memory - those who regardless of age, gender, religious background or nationality who died as a result of terrorism.
Chairman and organiser, and former Mayor of Ballymena, Maurice Mills MBE said: “I am really pleased that our group secured two benches in memory of all the innocent citizens of our town and the surrounding area who were killed during The Troubles. “Tragically, our area suffered great loss during the dark days of violence across Northern Ireland.
“These benches will be a permanent reminder of those no longer with us and serve as a place of reflection and remembrance for their loved ones and the people of our town.
“Thank you to all of those who have supported this vital project.”
Councillor Paul Reid, out-going Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, said he was honoured to attend the “very special commemoration service”.
“These two memorial benches, donated by Ballymena Victims’ Memorial Group, remember all innocent victims from the area who lost their lives as a result of violence in the Province,” Cllr. Reid said.
Cllr. Reid added that benches will act as a “permanent reminder” of those no longer with us and “serve as a place of reflection and remembrance” for their loved ones and the people of the town.
“The People’s Park is just that - a park for the people. A place where memories are often created for many, and now, with these benches, a place for fond memories of loved ones so tragically lost, to be remembered fondly,” Cllr. Reid said.
He added his thanks to all who supported this “vital project”, especially the Ballymena Victims’ Support Group.
“Working together with local authorities, the community, and families of those who suffered loss, a common effort was made to create a place in their memory and [this event] is a manifestation of this,” Cllr. Reid said.
He added: “We may often look back at the resilience and human heart of our friends and family who were lost and know that they will always be remembered here in Mid and East Antrim.”