Released: 28 March 2015
Forty young people were honoured at Down District Council’s Chairman’s Inspiring Youth Awards at the Downpatrick Racecourse on Saturday 28 March 2015.
It was a superb afternoon of celebration, entertainment and elation. The Awards recognised so many of the district’s wonderful young people aged between 8 – 21 years, many of whom are already carving a future for themselves as our leaders for the future.
So many heart-warming and wonderful stories were heard about the achievements of children, teenagers and young adults across the whole of Down district.
Councillor Billy Walker hosted the event, along with MC Newcastle’s Maestro Ryan Hand and said, “I have had the privilege of working with many young people and I am amazed by the work that they do, the talent that they have and the generosity that they show to others in our district. Our district’s young people give me enormous hope for the future. Although many are dealing with difficult challenges at work, at school or in their personal life, the young people of this district are conscientious, enthusiastic and driven. They are determined to make a better future for themselves and for others, and they are working hard to make it happen.”
Councillor Walker continued, “They are a positive force; and that’s why I feel so passionate about creating this opportunity to recognise and reward our young people. They are important to us now and to our future. There is much to celebrate in the youth of today and we should take every opportunity to do so. We need all young people to have a stake in our communities, and communities to have a stake in the lives of our young people. By celebrating their success and supporting and recognising those who are making a difference, I hope that we can encourage give every young person the opportunity to make their mark in society, make a difference in their local area and make the best possible start to adult life. Today’s Awards were about giving real recognition of what young people are doing in our communities!”
Guests were entertained on arrival by up and coming Downpatrick DJ Rhys Mussett. Local singer/songwriter Stephen Rafferty, Newcastle’s Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann and Conor Scott from BBC’sThe Voice made the event an enjoyable one for all the guests with their live performances throughout the afternoon.
Speaking at the end of the Chairman’s Awards, Down District Council’s last ever Chairman, Cllr Walker took the opportunity to speak briefly about the ‘End of an Era’ for the Council.
Councillor Walker paid tribute to former Chairmen and Chief Executives of Down District Council who attended the Chairman’s community event and paid tribute to them for the years of their lives given to public service and to working diligently to improve the quality of life for the people of Down district over the past 42 years.
Councillor Walker said, “Down District Council can look back with pride on its long and successful history and be pleased that it has played a vital role in the lives of so many citizens of the district.”
He continued, “Wednesday, 1 April heralds a new beginning for Down District Council when it merges with Newry and Mourne District Council to establish the new Council of Newry, Mourne and Down. It will be a bigger and stronger Council with greater powers and responsibilities. It will create opportunities to do things differently and improve services for the benefit of residents, businesses and communities. I hope that you will continue to support your local Council and I look forward to working for you in the new Super Council.”