Ballymacash bonfire was ‘great success’

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The Eleventh Night in Ballymacash was yet another successful annual event according to a community representative who praised the community for their ongoing support.

Graham Morris, the main organiser of the event for the past 20 years was speaking this week, after the Ulster Star report of complaints about the event.

Mr Morris, said that they received just one complaint but said that the person did not leave a contact name and number and so could not resolve their issue.

He said that over the years that he has never received any complaints about the bonfire in the estate and said that this year’s was particularly successful.

He went onto describe just how much planning goes into such an event.

“This is one of the biggest events of the year in the North Lisburn area,” said Mr Morris. “We spend six months planning this. There is fundraising, and then the bonfire itself. We set up security barriers around the site and we liase with the local police.

“During the day, we hold a great Family Fun Day where there are bouncy castles, face painting and free catering.

“It creates a great family community spirit within the estate.”

He said that a huge television was placed on the green to allow people to watch World Cup games.

He said that on the Eleventh Night the site is marshalled by up to 20 community volunteers who take the health and safety of the community very serious.

“To say that our bonfire was not safe is ridiculous,” he said. “It is five or six storeys high so there is a lot of planning into making it. It topples but it does that.

“There are barriers in place to protect buildings and the crowd.

“There is no way anyone or buildings were ever in any danger. People are told to stand well back. The police have never had to be called in.”

He claimed the complaints were faceless and urged anyone with problems with the running of the event to contact him.

“These are faceless complaints,” he said. “If they come forward then we will help them. We do not want anyone feeling afraid or unhappy. That is not what the Bonfire Night is all about.

“I did receive a complaint but they did not leave a number. How am I supposed to resolve this issue if they do not leave contact name and number? There was minimal trouble,” he said .“There were a few minor issues but within 48 hours of the Bonfire the green was immaculate again.”