Killyleagh To Host The Great Poppy Party

Dr Eddie Rea, chairman of the special committee set up by the Killyeagh Social Partnership to organise and manage the event in Killyleagh, said, “This promises to be an outstanding event, one which recognises the welfare role of the Royal British Legion over the past 90 years. [caption id="attachment_23506" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="At the launch of the Great Poppy Party weekend in Killyeagh were back row, Dr Eddie Rea, Killyleagh Social Partnership, Moore Ruddock, WWI veteran, Killyleagh Primary DSchool principal Lesley Spence, Killyleagh RTBL chairman William Croskery, Ann Fee, Killyleagh Social Partnership, and dressed i poppies, Bob Perry, RBL vice-chairman. Frint row are Killleagh Primary School pupils Natasha Manganaro, Sam Carson, Alicia Martin and Rebekah Sullivan with Jerry and Dee Maxwell, WW2 Experience NI."][/caption] “Killyleagh Castle is a stunning setting particularly for the Tattoo. It will be Northern Ireland’s version of the popular annual event at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Our current plans are to have 90 pipers also the buglers from 2nd Rifles from Ballykinler. “We are delighted to have the support of the Rowan family who live in the castle. They have given us permission for the use of the castle’s bawn. Killyleagh is one of the friendliest villages in Ulster and we are delighted to play such a significant role in the historic Great Poppy Party weekend. “The Poppy Party opens with a talk show hosted by TV presenter Mike Nesbitt, on Friday 1oth June, and it’s theme will be ‘Recollections of difficult times and conflicts.’ Among the participants in the question and answer session will be Col John Edward Gray, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He is from Cleveland in the USA which is twinned with Killyleagh. Also, Sir John Gorman, who received a Military Cross for his bravery as a tank commander  in WWII is taking part.” On Saturday morning, there will be a parade through Killyleagh of the Legion standards and an invitation has been extended to Legion members to take part. And on Sunday, there is a cavalcade of vintage military vehichles followed by a children’s street party in the grounds of the castle. The UK national organiser of the Great Poppy Weekend, Bruno Peek, said, “It may seem unusual in getting into party mood in the summer for something as serious as the welfare and campaigning work undertaken by the Royal British Legion. But we believe that we should all take pleasure in and celebrate the 90th anniversary of this remarkable organisation and the outstanding achievements of it over the last 90 years. We should all enjoy the carnival atmosphere  and the great sense of fun, comradeship and togetherness. “It is a chance not just to thank the Legion for its wonderful caring work over nine decades but to acknowledge its value to communities, individuals, and of [caption id="attachment_23508" align="alignright" width="267" caption="Dr Eddie Rea, Chairman of the Killyleagh Social Partnership, with WWII veteran Moore Ruddock and Killyleagh Primary School pupil Sam Carson at the launch of the Great Poppy Party weekend in Killyeagh from 10-12th June."][/caption] course, our future.” On the Thursday before the event officially begins, schoolchildren from a number of local schools will be visiting the bawn in Killyeagh Castle to chat with Jerry Maxwell and his associates from WW2 Experience NI, a living history project and re-enactment group. They will undoubtably get a chance to look at many of the uniforms, weapons and other items used by soldiers in WWII and maybe even a chance to try on a tin helmet or two!]]>