Ballymena looks set to be the venue for a mini ‘Royal Variety’ style performance on June 11 to mark the date of the Queen’s official birthday.
Mid & East Antrim councillors gave permission at their latest monthly meeting on the proposal of Councillor Mark McKinty, seconded by Councillor Lynn McClurg, for Council’s CEO Anne Donaghy to progress the remaining elements of the programme to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in the borough from April 21-June 11.
The proposed Royal Variety style concert in The Braid would be the culmination of a whole host of local events.
According to a report presented to Council, it would be hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Joan Christie, and Mid & East Antrim Mayor, Councillor Billy Ashe, and compered by William Caulfield. It would be free of charge, with donations collected for the RNLI.
A series of royal celebration tea dances are also proposed for the end of May in Ballymena, Carrickfergus, and Larne.
People in the borough who have attained the age of 90 this year will be invited, with a carer, and will be presented with a commemorative coin by the Mayor.
The remaining tickets will be open to the general public with donations collected for the chosen charity, the RNLI.
Other planned events include the planting of 90 royal oaks in the borough with 30 of them to be planted in Ballymena at a location yet to be agreed.
A new floral display with a Royal Oak and 90 Royal themed roses is also to be created at The Peoples’ Park.
Further events include a Civic Service for County Antrim, which will take place on Sunday, May 29, at St Nicholas’ Church in Carrickfergus.
In the meantime, ‘Books of Good Wishes’ for The Queen have been opened for signing in The Braid, Ballymena; Larne Town Hall; and, Carrickfergus Civic Centre.
The books will close on May 21, after which they will be bound and forwarded to the Palace ahead of the Queen’s official birthday, June 11.
Back on April 21 to mark the beginning of the celebrations, the Council wrote to all places of worship within the Borough at the request of the Lord Lieutenant asking them to ring their bells at 12 noon on that date and the local authority also successfully hosted a Beacon in Carrick as part of the national chain of beacons across the UK.
In addition, a children’s competition for the creation of either a Birthday Card, Poster or Poem was circulated to all primary schools in the borough with the winners receiving a commemorative coin and a reception in the Mayor’s Parlour.