Service marks 97th anniversary of the Somme

Waiting to lay wreaths during Sunday's Somme memorial service in Ballyclare. INNT 27-516CON
Waiting to lay wreaths during Sunday's Somme memorial service in Ballyclare. INNT 27-516CON

Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE, attended a service in Ballyclare on Sunday, June 30 to commemorate the 97th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

The service, which took place at the town’s war memorial, was also attended by Deputy Mayor of Newtownabbey, Alderman Dineen Walker and Chief Executive, Jacqui Dixon alongside council members.

A parade led through Ballyclare town centre to the War Memorial Park where a service was held to honour members of the Army, Air Force, Royal Navy and Merchant Navy who sacrificed their lives in 1916.

Four new benches were installed for this year’s commemoration service. They were purchased with funds raised through donations from members of the community, Seamus Reid of Reid and Black Solicitors and other local businesses.

“The new fixtures will provide local people with a special place to sit and reflect on the lives so tragically cut short in two World Wars and other conflicts during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries,” a council spokesperson said.

Following Sunday’s service, 95-year-old war veteran Isaac Higginson was presented with the Arctic Star medal by the Lord Lieutenant.

The Ballyclare man served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.