Royal celebration in Rathfern

Tommy Kirkham, George Thompson and members of Rathfern Community Regeration Group at the garden party held to celebrate HM The Queen's 90th birthday. INNT 19-550-SO
Tommy Kirkham, George Thompson and members of Rathfern Community Regeration Group at the garden party held to celebrate HM The Queen's 90th birthday. INNT 19-550-SO

Rathfern Community Regeneration Group held a cross-community garden party recently to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday.

The event, supported by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, was designed to develop good relations in the area.

Lord Lieutenant Joan Christie OBE (right) with Gillian Graham and her mother Maureen Bird at the garden party. INNT 21-506CON

Lord Lieutenant Joan Christie OBE (right) with Gillian Graham and her mother Maureen Bird at the garden party. INNT 21-506CON

The Queen’s official representative in County Antrim, Lord Lieutenant Joan Christie OBE attended the event, alongside the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Thomas Hogg and local MLAs and councillors.

Residents from Rathfern and Whiteabbey turned out to enjoy the celebrations.

As part of the event, Mrs Christie also performed the official opening of the new orienteering course and community garden at Rathfern Social Activity Centre.

“Of course the day was about celebrating the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but we added to the agenda to also launch our new orienteering course, which was tested by Cadets from ‘D’ Company 1st Battalion Northern Ireland Army Cadet Force,” explained Alan Crawford, chairman of Rathfern Community Regeneration Group.

Dance tutor Demi Walker (right) with young members of the Rathfern Highland Dance School enjoying the sunshine at the garden party. INNT 21-505CON

Dance tutor Demi Walker (right) with young members of the Rathfern Highland Dance School enjoying the sunshine at the garden party. INNT 21-505CON

“The third strand to the occasion was to open the community garden which has been developed by Groundwork NI and funded through Landfill Tax Credits and the Public Health Agency.”

Mrs Christie praised the community group for its work developing new facilities at Rathfern Social Activity Centre, while Cllr Hogg spoke about the relationship the local group and community have with the council. The event also heard from Jim Bradley of the Belfast Hills Partnership, Patrick Cregg from the Woodland Trust and Paula Quigley of Groundwork NI.

After the formalities, guests were treated to food and entertainment, including a display from the centre’s own Highland Dance School.

Mr Crawford thanked the management committee, volunteers and the newly-established Rathfern Gardening Club for their help with the preparations for the garden party.

He also expressed his gratitude to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Belfast Hills Partnership and Rathfern Men’s Shed for acting as sponsors for the event.