Thursday, 3 April 2014

Mayor praises Guide Dogs for the Blind

From Left, Mayoress Mrs Scott, Guide Dogs for the
Blind User Elaine Orwin, Guide Dogs for the Blind
Staff Member (
Fiona Brown), Local Branch Chairperson
Orrlene McMillen and Mayor Muir.
I recently hosted Guide Dogs for the Blind users, volunteers, fundraisers and staff at the Town Hall a few weeks ago.

Over thirty people attended the special reception which featured a short history talk from the Town Hall Supervisors and guided tour from me and my Mum, The Mayoress, Madeline Scott.

I was delighted to host Guide Dogs for the Blind at the Town Hall recently to recognise the valuable contribution made by people who are blind or visually impaired plus the fantastic volunteers and staff that help provide the valuable service of a trained Guide Dog.

I was particularly thankful to David, Brian and Elaine for coming along with their Guide Dogs and the opportunity to hear their personal stories and how they enjoy life in North Down with their Guide Dog.

By collecting funds, organising events, training dogs and raising awareness Guide Dogs for the Blind volunteers and staff help enable people who are blind or visually impaired get out and about and enjoy life. I am therefore extremely grateful for the role played and enjoyed providing the Town Hall reception to formally express my profound thanks. I look forward to helping the organisation in any way possible over the remainder of my term as Mayor and beyond if re-elected to serve as a Councillor.

Mayoral duo visit Crosslé Cars, Holywood

I recently welcomed Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir to visit Crosslé Cars, arguably Holywood’s secret success story.

We met with Caroline Crosslé, daughter of founder racing champ John Crosslé, CEO Paul McMorran and staff at Crosslé’s Holywood premises.

Crosslé is a well established successful company exporting racing cars across the world led by Paul McMorran and a number of dedicated skilful staff with a strong future ahead of them.

In order to grow our economy and export markets we must look outwards and work together in collaboration with our neighbours whether they be in Belfast, London or Dublin. I was therefore delighted to welcome the Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir to Holywood to see Crosslé Cars, arguably Holywood’s secret success story. Máirtín was extremely impressed and looks forward to profiling the company to business leaders across the USA when he next visits the East Coast of America.

The history and heritage associated with Crosslé is rich and I therefore look forward to reading the forthcoming publication documenting this history and heritage. Until then I will be working in conjunction with relevant Council officers to explore how we can further assist and enable Crosslé to grow based upon a proud reputation as the world’s longest-established constructors of racing cars.

Established in 1957, Crosslé is the world’s longest-established constructors of racing cars.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Local Entrepreneur is Bangor's Kirsty Allsopp

Rachel Gadd and Mayor Muir with restored furniture
An entrepreneurial young woman from Bangor has turned her talents and passion for furniture restoration and refurbishment into a business. With help from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, Rachel Gadd has just launched her exciting new venture, Dolled-Up Décor.

Having spent the last 15 years working on various items for friends and family, Rachel decided the time was right for her to capitalise on the growing popularity of “shabby chic” and finding new uses for old furniture.

“ Often clients have a sentimental attachment to a piece of furniture, but it has fallen out of use through wear and tear or changes in décor,” she explains. “ I love working with my customers to create bespoke designs for their much loved furniture.

“On other occasions if clients have something special in mind, I help source furniture and revamp it to their specifications to create a bespoke design that fits perfectly with their décor, without breaking the bank!”

The Enterprise Programme helps young people to explore and test their business ideas, work out whether self employment is right for them and start up in business, or achieve alternative goals in employment, education or training.

Rachel  heard that the Prince’s Trust offered support to young people who wanted to start a business so she decided to give them a call.  In November 2013 Rachel completed the Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise Course which was held in the Prince’s Trust offices in Belfast.

The four day course covered everything from marketing and selling, to business finance and planning which helped Rachel decide if self-employment was for her. 

Rachel was successful in obtaining start up finance from the Prince’s Trust to enable her to start her business and would encourage any young person who has an idea that they would like to become self employed to just pick up the phone and speak to the Prince’s Trust.

“Through the Prince's Trust I have learnt how to set up and run a successful business. The funding and mentoring support gained from the Trust allowed me to realise my dream of running my own business and has helped me exceed my own expectations of what I could achieve”.

I joined Rachel at the launch as Mayor of North Down, keen to show my support for the courageous local businesswoman. “I am delighted to see Rachel’s launch Dolled- Up Décor and warmly congratulate her on having the courage and amazing expertise to establish such an innovative business which I am sure will go from strength to strength.”

Mayor hosts St Patrick's Day Musical Celebration at historic Town Hall

I opened up the Town Hall on St Patrick’s Day and hosted a Musical Celebration in aid of the Mayor’s Charities. Ards Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann provided the entertainment with over eighty people in attendance.

I am truly grateful to Ards Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann for coming along and performing in the Music Room which now acts as the Council Chamber at The Castle, Town Hall, Bangor on St Patrick’s Day. The music, songs and Irish Dancing was absolutely amazing and a fantastic way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Bangor, a town rich which enjoys such rich Christian Heritage.

As Mayor of North Down I seek to build an open, inclusive and outward looking Borough that embraces the rich culture and heritage we all share. Hosting the St Patrick's Day Musical Celebration at the Town Hall is an important step forward and will hopefully become an annual event as we move forward to build a shared future together.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Mayor Muir praises St Paul's GAC U16s

Mayor Muir presenting Borough Plaque
and Football to Captain Sean Tucker
I welcomed St Paul’s Gaelic Athletic Club’s Under 16 Football Team to the Town Hall on Thursday 20 March 2014 to congratulate them on winning Down Division Two Title late last year. With new club kit now delivered the team came along professionally attired and enjoyed a tour of the historic building.

I was delighted to learn about St Paul’s GAC U16 Team fantastic achievement late last year and immediately offered them a Mayoral reception at the Town Hall to recognise the effort made to grasp this important title. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet players and officers within the team from diverse backgrounds united together as a result of a common sporting interest and wish them best of luck in the season ahead.

As one of North Down’s valued sporting clubs I was honoured to be able to present Captain Sean Tucker with a Borough Plaque plus a signed O Neill’s Football and be able to give them a tour of the historic building. As part of my ongoing commitment as Mayor to support both sport and good community relations I have agreed to join the club at a relevant Away Fixture before the end of my term and look forward to supporting their ongoing sporting success in the weeks ahead.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Mayor praises Sullivan effort at Ulster Schools Cup Rugby Final

I am very proud of what Sullivan Upper achieved. Whilst they didn't win the Ulster Schools Cup they played an amazing game and I am sure they'll be back to seek the cup again next year. Ability to reach the cup final and play strong during a tough game is very admirable. Today's Mayoral reception was to recognise this amazing ability and encourage the team towards future success.