Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective

This sectarian poster was erected at the shops on the Crumlin Road on the day of the recent Tour of the North parade.  It was later removed but it continues to appear on the website of the Greater Ardoyne Resident Collective.

The message will be understood by most people as a clear threat of violence by dissident republicans if members of the Orange Order exercise their right of peaceful assembly.

Summer Reading Challenge

Libraries Minister, Nelson McCausland, launched this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, on behalf of Libraries NI, at Finaghy Library on Wednesday 23rd June, with a little help from the pupils of Finaghy Primary School.

Irene Knox, Nelson McCausland, David Elliott and some children from Finaghy Primary School
The Summer Reading Challenge takes place from Saturday 26th June – Saturday 4th September, and aims to keep children reading throughout the school summer holidays. This year’s theme is ‘Space Hop’ which is designed to create a ‘buzz’ around reading and all Northern Ireland libraries are preparing to launch children’s imaginations into orbit through this intergalactic book adventure.

The Challenge is simple - Children are encouraged to read six or more books of their choice during the holidays with collectable incentives and rewards, plus a certificate or medal for every child who completes the Challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge continues to go from strength to strength every year. This exciting initiative not only encourages our children to read and enjoy books but also promotes quality time and interaction between parents, carers and children. Libraries play a vital role in the development of our children and I would encourage all parents and carers to bring their children along to their local library to take up this challenge.

The Summer Reading Challenge is an immensely popular and successful reading initiative. Now in its twelfth year, it is created by The Reading Agency, which is an independent charity working to inspire more people to read more.

Libraries NI Chief Executive, Irene Knox explains: “Research shows that children really enjoy taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, which is a great way to keep children entertained over the holidays. More importantly, it has been proven that children who take part in the Challenge read more books and read more widely than those who don’t, with potentially life-changing results.

An interactive Space Hop (www.spacehop.org.uk) website has just been launched, linking children with top authors and illustrators, and giving them space to talk about their favourite books and to share reading ideas.

To find our more about events planned around the Summer Reading Challenge, contact any Northern Ireland library or go to the Libraries NI events website at www.librariesni.org.uk/events.

Ulster Grand Prix

The official launch of the Ulster Grand Prix was held yesterday in the civic centre in Lisburn.  Among those present were Ryan Farquhar and William Dunlop.  The UGP is now in its 88th year and brands itself as the fastest road-race in the world.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Big City Park

Ormeau Park in Belfast is the location for the filming of a new chidlren's television series, Big City Park,  for Cbeebies.  The series was created by Colin Williams, originally from North Belfast, and it is being produced by his own company.

Nelson McCausland, Rick Hill, Colin Williams and some of the characters
I visited the set in Ormeau Park to meet the production team and the characters who will feature in the series, one of whom at least has a good Ulster accent.  Each of the programme lasts for 15 minutes and there are 27 in the series.

As well as helping to support the lcoal economy, this programme will bring Ormeau Park into many thousands of homes across the British Isles and beyond.


Spellbound by gymnastics

Sports Minister, Nelson McCausland is pictured with members of Britain's Got Talent winning act, Spelbound and Mr Andy McDowell, chairman of Rathgael Gymnastics Club, Bangor. The gymnastics troupe were putting in some valuable training hours at the invitation of the club who have witnessed a marked increase in membership and participation following Spelbound's well documented recent success.

Restoration work at Belfast Central Library

Desi Miskelly, Assets Manager with Libraries NI , David Patton, chairperson of the Patton Group,
who are carrying out the repairs, and Nelson McCausland

Earlier this week I visited Belfast Central Library to see the important stonework repairs being carried out to the fa├žade of the historic building.  Libraries NI initiated the repair works to address weather damage to the landmark grade B listed building's stonework and roof. Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

The Northern Ireland Executive has committed nearly £850,000 to these restoration works in recognition of the significant role that Belfast Central Library plays in the cultural life of Northern Ireland. This work will ensure the safety of the public and also ensure that this iconic building is preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. The library is also a key part of the regeneration of the historic North West quadrant of the city.

I was accompanied on his tour of the building by Billy Martin, chairman of H&J Martin, the building firm that originally constructed the library, and a descendant of the original Martin family, and David Patton, chairman of the Patton Group, who are carrying out the repairs.

The skill of the craftsmen is remakrable as is the care that is taken in plannign the work and procuring the best materials.  The builsing was constructed of sandstone from Dumfries in Scotland and stone from the same quarry is being used in the repair work to ensure that it matches the original.

I have spent many hours in the library but this was my first opportunity to get up on to the roof and see the building from above.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Graeme McDowell

Northern Ireland golfer Graeme McDowell has become Europe's first US Open champion for 40 years after winning his first major title at Pebble Beach.  This is an outstanding achievement.

McDowell, was born in Portrush in 1979 and attended the University of Alabama from 1998 to 2002.  In 2002 he won the Haskins Award for the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the United States and in 2001 he was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland team that retained the Walker Cup at Sea Island in Georgia.  Graeme turned professional in 2002 and has enjoyed six wins on the European Tour to date.

Well done, Graeme! Northern Ireland is truly delighted!

Golf was introduced into Ulster in the late 19th century from Scotland by Thomas Sinclair, a remarkable man who was the leading Liberal Unionist of his day, the leading layman in the Presbyterian Church and the man who wrote the Ulster Covenant.  Today there is a very strong interest in golf in the province and we have magnificent courses such as Royal County Down, Royal Belfast and Royal Portrush, which are among the finest in the world.
 
This was a good weekend for some other Northern Ireland athletes and Coleraine's Richard Chambers won a gold medal for rowing at the World Cup regatta in Munich.

Monday, 21 June 2010

A notable North Belfast sailor

Sir Philip Alexander Watson (1919-2009) was an officer in the Royal Navy and rose to the rank of vice-admiral.  He was born on 7 October 1919 at 93 Limestone Road, Belfast, into a family of engineers and and was the son of Alexander Henry St Croix Watson (1885-1963) and his wife Gladys Margaret Payne.

He was educated at St Albans School in England and started as an apprentice electrical engineer with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, hoping to work on the railways in India.

Watson joined the Admiralty Compass Observatory at Slough, serving until 10 March 1940, when he was commissioned in the Royal Naval Reserve as an electrical sub-lieutenant. He served on the minesweeper HMS Hebe on Arctic convoys from the United Kingdom to the northern ports of the Soviet Union, escorting seven convoys in the winter of 1941-42. Watson was then appointed assistant torpedo officer on HMS Nelson and was at the German surrender at Trondheim when serving on the cruiser HMS Berwick as torpedo officer. 

After the war he transferred to the Royal Navy as a lieutenant and served as naval assistant to Admiral S L Bateson, who was responsible for forming the Navy’s electrical branch. 

Watson served with the 5th Destroyer Flotilla on the battle-class destroyers HMS Solebay and HMS Gabbard, before moving to the Admiralty in London. This was followed by a spell at HMS Collingwood as assistant to the training commander, with Watson being promoted to lieutenant-commander. He spent two years with the radio section at Malta Dockyard before becoming electrical officer in HMS Decoy. Watson was promoted to commander in 1955 and returned to working at the Admiralty.  On 11 December 1948 he married Jennifer Beatrice Tanner and they had two daughters and a son. 

Following his promotion to commander in 1955, Watson was electrical officer on board the Royal Yacht Britannia on her maiden circumnavigation of the globe and her visit to the Great Lakes. For this he was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order. 

Watson followed this with a move to Chatham Dockyard, where from 1959 he was in command of the electrical shops and weapon section. In 1962 he went to sea again aboard the cruiser HMS Lion, where he served as weapon electrical engineer officer. 

He was promoted to captain and joined the ship department at Bath, where he became involved in the designs of submarines, aircraft carriers and commando ships. In 1967 he became captain of HMS Collingwood but by 1969 he was back at Bath as deputy director of engineering (electrical) in the ship department.

Watson was promoted to rear-admiral and director-general weapons (naval) and later promoted again to vice-admiral. He was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1974 and retired from the navy in March 1977. He was chairman of Marconi Radar systems from 1981 to 1985.

Vice-admiral Watson retired to Oxfordshire, where he was a fund-raiser for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, and he died on 8 December 2009.

Friday, 18 June 2010

End of year show at UU

The end of the academic year for arts students at the University of Ulster was marked with an exhibition at the campus in York Street.  The exhibition is open for several weeks and is well worth seeing.  The quality of the work bodes well for the future of the creative industries in Northern Ireland.

The speakers at the opening of the exhibition on Wednesday night included Gary McCausland, who is a graduate of UU, and the vice-chancellor Professor Richard Barnett.  Also in the photograph is Professor Alastair Adair, pro vice-chancellor, who has a lead role in developing the new University of Ulster campus in York Street.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Topping out ceremony at Lyric

The 'topping out' ceremony at the new Lyric Theatre took place this afternoon in south Belfast.  The new theatre will cost almost £18m of which my department has contributed £9m and the Lyric has raised over £5m.

L-R: Lyric Chairman Mark Carruthers, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery,
Arts Minister, Nelson McCausland MLA and Chairman of The Arts Council for Northern Ireland Rosemary Kelly OBE.


Work started in March 2009 and good progress is being made with an anticipated completion date in March 2011.  The new theatre will bring benefits in terms of cultural, physical, social and economic regeneration as well as cultural tourism

This is one of a number of major cultural projects and others include the refurbishment and extension of the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, the new Metropolitan Arts Centre, also in Belfast, and the Waterside Theatre, Playhouse Theatre and An Gaelaras in Londonderry.

Old Firm Alliance

Today I attended the official launch of the Old Firm Alliance programme at the Ozone Leisure complex at Ormeau Embankment in Belfast.

The programme was organised by the Belfast Community Sports Development Network, which is headed y Peter Shaw, in cooperation with Rangers Football Club and Celtic Football Club, through the Old Firm Alliance.

The cross-community programme, which is funded by the IFI, is a cross-community initiative that uses sport to deliver engagement between nationalist and unionist communities.  It targets young people in communities most impacted by the troubles through two strands of work - a schools-based project and a community-based project.  The current initiative is based on similar programmes in Glasgow, which have proven highly successful in challenging attitudes among children and young people.

Nearly 3,000 young people, at primary and post-primary schools across Belfast will take part in the three-year programme.  The children get enjoyment and an opportunity to improve their football skills.  They also learn about sport and health, about working with others and about difference and diversity.

There is strong support in Ulster for the two Scottish teams - Rangers and Celtic - and this is undoubtedly part of the appeal of the programme.

Tollymore National Outdoor Centre

Yesterday I officially opened the newly refurbished Tollymore National Outdoor Centre at Bryansford, in the foothills of the Mournes.  This iconic building, which received £5m investment from my department through sport NI, is a state of the art national centre that is fit for the 21st century and as good, if not better, than the national centres elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

The centre provides a wide range of course such as rock cluimbing, canoeing, hill walking, mountain biking, orienteering, coasteering and mountaineering to individuals, groups and organisations at all levels.

I was pleased to see that the centre also supplements its income by offering its facilities to the corporate market.  This will help the sustainability of the centre and with such excellent facilities and a stunning location it should be very attractive to that market.

I was joined at the opening by Dominic Walsh, the chair of Sport NI, Dawson Stelfox, who was involved in the overall design, and Helen Skelton, from Blue Peter.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Creative industries

The following appeared as a platform piece in the Belfast Telegraph.

Creativity and Innovation - coalition that works!

Nelson McCausland, Minister for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

The coalition government at Westminster is being heralded by some as a new era of political collaboration. That remains to be seen but consensus certainly exists across the realm’s parliaments and devolved administrations on the need for new solutions to diverse problems.

The United Kingdom faces major economic challenges and an era of fiscal austerity. The danger is that the creativity and innovation required to tackle these challenges will be hindered by short-sighted budget cuts that disproportionately impact on catalytic programmes helping to lead economic recovery.

Culture and the arts might be considered by some as lower priorities in such difficult times. But this overlooks the development of a sector globally recognised for its economic impact – the creative industries.

Prosperous economies are characterised by a strong creative sector. The creative industries create wealth and jobs through the content they devise, the services they deliver and the experiences they provide. Approximately 2 million people in the UK are employed in the creative sector and the creative industries contribute a greater proportion of GDP in the UK than in any other nation.

Many British designers, architects and film-makers are world leaders in their fields. An exciting growth area is digital media which provides new opportunities for business endeavour. But creative entrepreneurs do not appear spontaneously. Investment in the arts and creative sector directly strengthens the economy for it fuels the emergence of creative people, services and enterprises.

This potential should not be underestimated. Belfast was once the world-leader in shipbuilding and linen manufacture but today the city that built the Titanic is establishing a global reputation based on modern modes of creativity and innovation. Northern Ireland has been hugely successful in attracting major film and television productions. It boasts a massive built space that doubles as a quasi-film studio – the former Paint Hall in Belfast’s shipyard. The US cable network, HBO, recently announced that the series Game of Thrones will be filmed in Northern Ireland. This will be one of the largest television productions ever shot outside the US and demonstrates the region’s ability to compete on the world stage.

Furthermore, a growing and vibrant local sector includes the many individuals and small businesses working in digital media. From i-phone apps to leading-edge digital animation, Northern Ireland creative talent has the potential to develop the region as a world leader for both film location and the lucrative post-production market.

To be creative also means to devise new ideas and collaborations to tackle problems and harness opportunities. To be innovative means to turn these ideas into value by introducing change in the economy or society. The culture, arts and sport sectors can impact on economic goals but also those relating to health, education and social inclusion.

The Northern Ireland Executive, through my Department, oversees a diverse remit that includes the arts, sports, museums, libraries, languages and public records. Consider for a moment how increased participation in sport reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes – major challenges costing billions of pounds annually. Museums and libraries are catalysts for learning and community engagement and provide inspirational education and training opportunities. The promotion of language diversity and access to historical archives promotes social inclusion and a shared future through better understanding of history and identity.

These areas all deliver significant outcomes but also enhance and add value to the work of other government departments and priorities. But it is a catalytic contribution that could be too easily under-estimated in emergency budgets.

The joint manifesto produced by the Westminster coalition states that “a vibrant cultural, media and sporting sector is crucial for our well-being and quality of life”. The challenge going forward, for all UK political administrations, is to fully realise and invest in the potential of the creative sector and its ability to catalyse creative ideas, partnerships and innovative solutions that help tackle key challenges in health, education, social inclusion and the economy.





Saturday, 12 June 2010

Cultural vandalism

Businessman Dermot Kennedy - a former Sinn Fein election candidate - demolished Piney Ridge, a B1 listed building on the Malone Road in Belfast, over the Easter holiday in March 2008.  He was taken to court and was fined just £150 while the development company of which he is a director, Ortega Properties Ltd, was fined £300.

The defendants argued that the house had been derelict for some years and that they had attempted to safeguard it from local children and others but that on Easter Saturday the building went on fire and the roof was destroyed.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society said it was 'very concerned' at the 'small' fine imposed and rightly so.

Our listed buildings are part of our history and our cultural heritage and they must be protected.  In this and in a number of other previous cases the courts have failed to recognise the value of cultural heritage.  That needs to change!

The Ulster Museum controversy (11)

Over the past few weeks I have been deeply disappointed by the standard of the newspaper reports about my suggestion that the Ulster Museum consider how alternative views on the origin of the universe and the origin of life might be accommodated in some way within the museum.  Much of it has been inaccurate and that has been deeply unfortunate.

Moreover there has been a tendency for shoddy and inaccurate reporting to be copied by other journalists and this has led on to more inaccurate reporting.  In this way myth takes over from reality.

I have also been deeply disappointed by the nature of some of the letters and e-mails I have received.  These range from the e-mail that started with the greeting 'you moron', through to those that simply addressed me with foul language.  A few of those who disagreed with my suggestion did so in a rational and reasonable manner but most were characterised by a prejudice and intolerance that did not speak well of the authors.

We need to have a society where it is possible to have a reasonable discussion about issues such as museums or culture, indeed that is an essential element in a shared and better future, but some people seem incapable of reasonable discussion.  We may disagree with others, whatever the issue, but surely we can disagree without being disagreeable.

It is clear that some people want me to enter into a public debate on evolution, creationism and intelligent design and that is something I have no intention of doing.  There are well-known scientists who advocate each of these viewpoints and I leave it to them to debate the matter. 

The core issues that I raised with National Museums Northern Ireland are (1) how museums contribute to good relations and to a shared and better future and (2) how museums and other cultural institutions implement the cultural rights of the people of Northern Ireland.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

On 9 March 1971 three young Scottish soldiers, John McCaig (17), his brother Joseph McCaig (18) and Dougald McCaughey (23), were off-duty when they were murdered by the IRA at the White Brae, in North Belfast.  That terrible day has never been forgotten in Ulster and a memorial has now been erected in their memory.

Cllrs Brian Kingston, Lydia Patterson & William Humphrey, Nigel Dodds MP MLA, Nelson McCausland MLA
& Diane Dodds MEP at the memorial
The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday 30 May and it has been placed in the care of the Royal British Legion.  After the dedication a service was held in Ballysillan Leisure Centre and some members of the McCaig and McCaughey families attended the services.

The three soldiers were members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers and as yet no one has been convicted of their murders.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

HEROS Programme

Sports Minister, Nelson McCausland with Colin Shields (left), Belfast Giants Captain, Barbara McNarry (right) George Best Foundation and Linnea Kane, Bridge Youth Club as he launched the George Best Foundation HEROS Programme (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society), a cross-commity and cross border ice hockey programme that will run throughout the summer. The programme will involve 34 young people from East Belfast, West Belfast and Finglas (Dublin) areas.

Isle of Man TT

I travelled over to the Isle of Man for a short two-day visit to see what lessons we can learn from the TT Races.  The TT road races are one of the big attractions in the island's tourist calendar and here at home we have the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

I met some of the organisers including the Clerk of the Course, Eddie Nelson, and Carolyn Kinrade QPM, the Motorsport Team Safety Co-ordinator, and we talked about the important issue of safety.  Later I met up with Geoff Corkish, the member of the Tynwald with responsibility for motor sport and also with the civil servant responsible for the overall organisation of the TT.

We drove round the TT course - in a car rather than on a bike - to see how the island accommodates so many visitors and to get a sense of the atmosphere of the festival.  The organisers do go out of their way to create a festival feeling on the island and there are special activities in the evenings down on the sea front.  The motorcycle stunt riders put on a great show last night for the visitors.

In the course of the two days I met quite a number of Ulster bike enthusiasts and had a long chat with Phillip McCallen, who was an eleven-time Isle of Man TT winner.

Unfortunately the weather today was poor and the racing was cancelled.  There are some things over which we have no control.

It was a very useful visit and there are a number of things that I will want to reflect on as we consider what can be done to support and enhance road racing in Ulster.





The Ulster Museum controversy (10)

The following comments were made by the Belfast Telegraph journalist Lindy McDowell in her Opinion column tonight (9 June):

How Minister's museum plea created unholy row
I don't go in for -isms and -ists.  So I don't see myself so much as an atheist.  Just a plain old non-believer.
I don't think there is anything up there or out there or down there (And, spare me tracts aimed at changing my mind.  you're wasting your postage.)
I do, however, respect other people's rights to their religious views.  If it brings people comfort and strength, fine by me.  I'm even interested in learning about various religions and religious views.
It's a big world.  There's room for us all.
Which is why I'm a bit baffled as to why so many people seem to have gone apoplectic over the revelation that Culture Minister Nelson McCausland has written to the Ulster Museum saying he's like to see a bit more coverage of Creationism (inter alia).
Now, if he was warning 'more coverage or no funding', obviously that would be a problem.
But he doesn't actually seem to be saying that.  So why not a exhibit outlining what Creationism is all about?
There are some things I'd certainly like to find out about it.
For a start - when was Creationism created?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

As bitter as a bask apple

In his Irish Times column yesterday Diarmaid O Muirithe explained the meaning of the Ulster-Scots word bask, which he said is or was used of the weather in the Ards peninsula, and is also used in Scotland and Cumbria.  It probably came to Ulster from Scotland and is used to describe a very dry day.  The Scots lexicographer, Jamieson, described a bask day as 'a day distinguished by drought, accompanied with a withering wind, destructive to vegetation.'  In his 1893 story, The Stickit Minister, S R Crockett referred to 'a bask blowy day in the end of March.'  O Muirithe had received from Ards the phrase, 'She's as bitter as a bask apple.'  This column is one of the jewels in the Irish Times every Monday.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Karting and rowing

Kart racer Liam Fox explains the workings of his machine to Sports Minister Nelson McCausland. The 2010 British Superkart Championship came to the Bishopscourt circuit in Co Down at the weekend.

Today I visited the Bishopscourt Race Circuit in county Down for the 2010 British Superkart Championship.  The two day event (4 & 5 June) consists of rounds of the North of Ireland Karting Association Championship, rounds of the British Superkart Association long Circuit Championship and the prestigious UK Cup Race for all Superkarts.

Superkarts are ultra light fast karts with aerodynamic bodywork, disc brakes and a fully race tuned 250cc 2-stroke motorbike engine.  Depending on the venue they can reach speeds of 120 to 150 mph.

I was interested to learn that there are junior classes, with young people able to start at the age of eight, and I met all the young competitors.  There were also several female racers competing against the men.

The competition attracted competitors from across England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland.  I received a warm welcome and it was a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Bishopscourt.  This is a sport which does not receive the public recognition it deserves.


Jonathan Baird  Lady Victoria Boat Club) with Sports Minister Nelson McCausland at the Annual University Boat Race on the River Lagan. Jonathan is a Queen's Rowing alumnus and was a rower in the first team to take part in the race in 2004.

From there I returned to Belfast for the 2010 University Boat Race between Queen's University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin.  This was the seventh annual race and it is held over a distance of 2112 metres, which was the original Oxford Cambridge course distance.  The Queen's rowing club is called the Lady Victoria Boat Club, since the university was founded in the reign of Queen Victoria, and the Trinity club is called the Lady Elizabeth since Trinity was founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

I followed the Fresher Women's Race in a launch, which is a great way to see the race.  It also provided a good sense of the recreational potential of the Lagan.  


Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Ulster Museum controversy (9)

In Northern Ireland we have two indigenous or autocthonous minority languages, Irish and Ulster-Scots.  They are part of our linguistic heritage and both of them have contributed to our placenames and to the Ulster dialect that most of us use every day.  An awareness of the influence of both languages in Ulster can contribute to better understanding, good relations and a shared future.

However in the section of the Ulster Museum entitled 'Plantation to Power Sharing' there is a marked difference in the treatment of the two languages.  At one point the relationship between the Gaelic language of Scotland and the Gaelic language of Ireland is highlighted and there is an opportunity to hear Gaelic being spoken.  Unfortunately there is no corresponding acknowledgement of the influence of the Scots language in Ulster and no opportunity to hear Ulster-Scots being spoken. 

The Ulster-Scots language has been excluded and I really do not understand why it was decided to accommodate one minority language in this way and yet exclude the other.  What possible reason or explanation could there be?

The United Kingdom government, including the Northern Ireland Executive, is committed to implement the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.  In Northern Ireland the two recongised minority languages are Irish and Ulster-Scots and under Part 2 of the charter there is a requirement to 'take resolute action to promote' the languages.  Indeed my department chairs the Interdepartmental Charter Implementation Group on the implementation of the charter. 

Surely the exclusion of the Ulster-Scots language from this exhibition is a breach of the obligation to 'take resolute action'?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Zoneball

Children from a number of schools in Belfast took part in a recent football competition in the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road in Belfast.  The competition was organised by the Belfast Community Sports Network and each school represented a country taking part in the World Cup. 

The children taking part, both boys and girls, were from different school sectors, and from the North and West of the city. 

They had a thoroughly enjoyable time and also learned something about the country they were representing.  In addition there was a strong message about having a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A great Ulster rower

Sports Minister Nelson McCausland congratulates Olympic hopeful Alan Campbell on winning a silver medal at the opening World Cup regatta of the season held at the weekend in Slovenia. Alan, from Coleraine, has been selected for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland London 2012 rowing team. Alan was back home today to launch 'Goldmark' which is a London 2012 Inspire project. Goldmark is a dynamic volunteer initiative designed to promote and recognise sports volunteering among young people aged 16-24.