Play park is renamed in honour of poet

Pictured (l-r) at the unveiling of the new William Morrison Play Area are Richard Gregory, chairman of MCAG, Mayor Fraser Agnew, Linda Drysdale (granddaughter of William Morrison), Jean Montgomery (daughter of William Morrison), Councillor Mark Cosgrove and Barry Macaulay, MCAG.
Pictured (l-r) at the unveiling of the new William Morrison Play Area are Richard Gregory, chairman of MCAG, Mayor Fraser Agnew, Linda Drysdale (granddaughter of William Morrison), Jean Montgomery (daughter of William Morrison), Councillor Mark Cosgrove and Barry Macaulay, MCAG.

The new-look children’s play area in Mallusk has been renamed in honour of local writer and poet William Morrison.

Born in the village in 1881, Morrison was a talented poet and amateur journalist whose works reflected his love of nature. He also chronicled the changing landscape of the village and surrounding countryside.

Morrison, who became known as ‘The Bard of Mallusk’, lived at Rosevale Cottage - now the site of the play park - until his death in the 1970s.

Despite the wet weather, the renaming ceremony went ahead as planned on Wednesday, January 29. It was attended by local school pupils, residents and political representatives.

Guests of honour were Morrison’s daughter, Jean Montgomery and granddaughter, Linda Drysdale, who recited one of his poems.

“This has been a wonderful day for me and my family. My father would be so proud to know his poems are still being enjoyed over 40 years after he passed away,” Jean said.

During a reception in the Academy Club, attendees learned more about the Bard and his works, and enjoyed a wonderful recital of his poem ‘The Old School House’, read by the Fee sisters from Mallusk Primary School.

The event was organised by Mallusk Community Action Group (MCAG), in conjunction with Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Speaking at the event, Mayor Fraser Agnew said: “Morrison’s insightful writings remain an inspiration to the village history. It is good to see local heritage combined with an outdoor play area for children, and we are delighted that the local primary school and local community group have taken an active role in the refurbishment and renaming.”

Barry Macaulay from MCAG added: “It’s been great to celebrate the life and works of the Bard of Mallusk and sustain his legacy for future generations.

“The refurbishment of the play area is the latest step in the implementation of the Mallusk Village Improvement Plan. We are indebted to Newtownabbey Borough Council for this and it follows the recent award of the prestigious Green Flag status to Mallusk Cemetery following the excellent environmental improvements there, including a plaque at the Bard’s grave.”