I warmly welcome the decision by a recent Council Committee to organise an Annual Multi Denominational Service of Thanksgiving for the Emergency Services and First Responders after he first proposed such an event in June 2018. The Committee decision was unanimous and ratified by Full Council at the end of March 2019.
I am delighted to see this initiative being progressed after first proposing such an Annual Service last year based upon the example set by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council who were involved in organising a Service in conjunction with local Churches for members of the Emergency Services and First Responders. The Service included an opportunity for those in attendance to learn about work undertaken by such organisations and involved a collection for NI Air Ambulance which is based within their Council area.
Those working in the Emergency Services and First Responders do a fantastic job across our Borough as everyday heroes, there when we need them most and very often going well beyond the call of duty to help others hence my proposal to recognise their courageous service in an inclusive Multi Denominational manner for those who choose to attend.
Representatives of both the Ards and Bangor Clergy Groups are supportive of and willing to be involved in such a service with Emergency Services and First Responder Groups expressing enthusiasm for the service and a willingness to be actively involved with the invitation to attend and participate in the Service to be circulated more widely to all emergency responder groups, including the NI Coastguard, NI Air Ambulance and other charitable and voluntary organisations, e.g. RNLI. The first service will be held on the afternoon of either Sunday, 1 September or Sunday, 8 September 2019 and held outdoors (to increase inclusivity), with the location rotating year on year between Bangor and Newtownards.
I would like to thank Council officers for their hard work in progressing this initiative and look forward to attending the inaugural event in September providing an opportunity to show our appreciation and support for the extraordinary commitment, service, courage and professionalism of our Emergency Services and First Responders.