Pomp and ceremony was the order of the day at Mossley Mill on Saturday, March 28 as Newtownabbey Borough Council staged its civic legacy celebration.
The cold and windy weather didn’t dampen the spirits as the crowds gathered in the grounds of the borough’s civic headquarters to watch a parade led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment.
Among those who took part in the parade were serving Army, Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, as well as many former servicemen and women representing various regimental associations.
The event, which also included a family fun day, was held to celebrate the achievements of Newtownabbey Borough Council over the past four decades, ahead of its merger with Antrim on April 1. It also paid tribute to the individuals and organisations awarded the council’s highest honour - the Freedom of the Borough - over the years.
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Co Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE congratulated the council on its achievements and wished the new local authority well for the years ahead.
Council chief executive Jacqui Dixon and Mayor Thomas Hogg paid tribute to the Freemen of the Borough, presenting mementos to individuals such as former rugby player Willie John McBride, long-serving councillor Fraser Agnew and former council chief executive Norman Dunn, as well as representatives from organisations including the Fire Brigade, Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Merchant Navy.
Among those who attended Saturday’s event were politicians, community representatives, council staff and members of the public.
“Newtownabbey leaves a legacy of achievement and accomplishment. As we move into this new era of local government with our partners in Antrim, I believe that our continued commitment to improve and our determination to succeed will ensure that the very best days of Antrim and Newtownabbey are yet to come,” Cllr Hogg said.
• See more pictures in this week’s Times (on sale April 1)