Young Adam Stevenson will be living his dream this weekend when he meets his idols at Glasgow Rangers. Adam suffers from a life limiting, muscle wasting disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, of which there are only 65 known cases in Northern Ireland. The disease only affects young boys with their life expectancy being around no more than their mid-20s.
Adam, who is wheelchair bound will travel to his first Rangers game this weekend against Kilmarnock and will spend Friday morning meeting the players at their training facility in Glasgow. Adam’s Dad Gary tells us “the family are absolutely overwhelmed by the generous donations from R.E.A.C.H, East Belfast Action for Community Transformation (ACT), Rangers supporters clubs from HW Welders, East Belfast Constitutional Club and Lagan Village along with the Union Jack Shop and East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band. These groups have all rallied to make Adams dream come true and we cannot thank them enough”.
R.E.A.C.H Chairman Jim Wilson said “Id like to personally thank the groups who came together to raise over £1000 to make this possible along with the staff at Stena Line. There is a strong community ethos in East Belfast and we are delighted to send the family across to make special memories with Adam and his brother Jake”.
Picture – Adam Stevenson receiving his tickets and itinerary from Robert McCartney (East Belfast ACT). Also pictured is Gary Stevenson, Ernie Devlin and Maureen Wilson (REACH), Jake Stevenson, Beverley Stevenson, John Williamson (HW Welders RSC)
Last Word spoke to Wesley Hutchinson, Professor Emeritus of Irish Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle, and Helen Brooker, director of Pretani Associates.
The show also includes Seychelles President Albert Rene, mathematician Simon Norton, campaigner Belle Tutaev, historian and singer Keith Flint.
On Sunday 10th members of our group attended the annual RBL motorbike ride past and wreath laying service in Antrim.
The service marked one of the final events planned over the weekend on the 10 year anniversary after the brutal terrorist attack at Masserene Barracks on the Randalstown Road in Antrim which claimed the lives of sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar.
Their names will be forever remembered. Lest we forget
This afternoon members of our group attended the unveiling of a new mural in the Rathcoole Estate, Co Antrim in remembrance of the Three Scottish Soldiers.
Today, March 10, marks 48 years since brothers John (17) and Joseph McCaig (18) from Ayr and Dougald McCaughey (23) from Glasgow, became the first soldiers killed while off duty during the Troubles.
All three were Privates serving with the 1st Battalion -The Royal Highland Fusiliers, stationed at Girdwood barracks in Belfast.
The three soldiers having been granted leave, had been enjoying a social drink together in Belfast City Centre, unarmed and in civilian clothing.
It is widely believed the young men were enticed by a number of Republican females with the promise of a party. They were taken to White Brae, North Belfast were they murdered by the Provisional IRA. The three had been shot at close range and were rumoured to be in a line. After failing to report back at 18:30 their bodies had been found by a group of children at 19:30.
The coroner at the time of the inquest into their murders in August 1971 commented: “You may think that this was not only murder, but one of the vilest crimes ever heard of in living memory”.
Sadly, two existing Memorials erected in memory of the soldiers have been attacked more than 25 times since 2010 by Republicans.
Well done to the organisers – Lest we forget.
On Thursday evening some of our members attended a Community Remembrance Service at Massereene Barracks on the 10th anniversary of the brutal murder of Sappers Patrick Azimkar & Mark Quinsey by Irish Republicans.
At an earlier service Patrick’s mother Geraldine Ferguson commented. “Thank you Antrim for keeping the boys close to your hearts over the years even though you never knew them”. Six other soldiers had suffered life-changing injuries or trauma in the attack, she noted and Mark’s mother, Pamela had “died of a broken heart” and was “definitely another victim”.
A stark reminder of our troubled past under threat of violent Republicans. We ask them, was it worth it?
Lest We Forget.
Yesterday evening our group was invited to the Sammy Duddy Conflict Transformation Centre on the York Road, North Belfast.
The centre has become a great addition to various venues displaying aspects of Loyalist culture. Within the centre there are many artifacts and mementos including old flags, jail handicrafts, obsolete weapons and old newspaper clippings among other items.
Their aim at the centre is to engage with individuals and groups to help understand the reasons around the need for the formation of various Defence Associations over 40 years ago. They also show the impact the conflict had on loyalist working class communities–in particular North Belfast.
Named after Sammy Duddy, a leading member of the Ulster Political Research Group.Sammy was involved in the negotiations that led to the 1998 Good Friday agreement. Conflict Transformation became a focus for Sammy who sadly passed away on October 17 2007. His legacy lives on with the group in the centre focusing on community development, community safety, conflict transformation and community relations.
Many thanks for the invite and all the very best for the future.
On 7th March morning members of Dalaradia attended an Act of Remembrance and Service in Market Square, Antrim. The event marked 10 years after the brutal terrorist attack at Masserene Barracks on the Randalstown Road in Antrim which claimed the lives of sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar. The families of the two Sappers were in attendance.
A number of events are planned to remember Mark Quinsey & Patrick Azimkar.
This evening at 7:30pm there will be a short memorial service and wreath laying at the gates of the old Masserene Barracks. A number of local groups will be taking part including our own.
On Sunday 10th at 12 Noon there will be an annual RBL motorbike ride past and wreath laying taking place with refreshments for members after in the Antrim RBL.
Lest we forget
Yesterday evening members of Dalaradia attended a presentation by renowned local historian Dr David Hume on the creation of Northern Ireland at Randalstown Memorial Orange Hall.
The event was organised by the South Londonderry, Randalstown ACT Initiative, the Carson Project and the Central Antrim Somme Association.
A very enjoyable evening, many thanks for the invite.